How would you feel if you could never vote?

Image shows a young male and female on a green background with the words welcome to your vote week in black and white

This is just one of the questions school pupils and young people across the country will debate as part of Welcome to Your Vote Week, which runs from January 30th to February 5th.

The annual campaign encourages young people to use their voice and get involved in democracy, to help influence and shape decisions about issues that matter to them.

This year’s theme is #OurDemocracy. The Electoral Commission, which runs the campaign, is encouraging local schools, youth groups and young people themselves to take part in the week-long campaign and also to think about ways they can be more active in local democracy for the longer term.

One of the key aims of the campaign is to encourage young people to take up their right to vote whenever possible – by registering to vote in the first place and by using that vote in the appropriate elections.

It’s possible to register to vote from the age of 14 and to vote in certain elections from 16 onwards – including local government and Scottish Parliament elections in Scotland. It’s quick and easy to do, it only takes five minutes and you can do it online at Register to vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

There are many other ways that young people can be more active and use their voice in their democracy – including volunteering, talking with others about issues that matter, joining a political party or campaign group, voting when possible and even standing for election as decision-makers themselves.

Find out more at Welcome to your vote | Electoral Commission – make sure you select Scotland as your location. There’s both information for young people and resources for anyone who works with them or supports them.  Check out the #OurDemocracy hashtag on social media over the course of the week for more details.

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