Teenage singer Declan McKenna is about to vote in his first ever general election.
“It’s so important young people are taken more seriously. It’s a big deal.”
The 18-year-old is a vocal supporter of getting more younger people – the most apathetic voting age group – to register.
“There’s a feeling older adults don’t listen to us, but if we’re not voting in big numbers we’re not going to be listened to.”
Even before he turned 18, he was engaged in politics and wore a t-shirt on TV which said Give 17 Year Olds The Vote.
Parties including Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have all proposed to do that. The Conservatives and UKIP have not.
According to research, 43% of 18 to 24-year-olds voted in the general election in 2015 which was way down on the overall national turnout of 66%.
“For a lot of people, they could impact their country’s future, their own future and their friend’s future,” he says.
“But they don’t care because they’re not taught about the importance of voting.”
So we asked Declan to respond to some common excuses about why younger people may not vote.
My vote won’t matter…
“To anyone out there who thinks this is boring or thinks this doesn’t matter, that’s exactly what a lot of people want you to think.
“Some politicians want you to be disinterested so they can have their way.”
It won’t affect my day-to-day life…
“It affects everything.
“For example, in the near future, when you break your wrist and you’re relying on someone to look after that wrist, the way you vote could affect how it’s treated.
“You just need to read manifestos (the series of promises that parties make if they get into power), see what politicians want to do and make your own decision.”
I’m not even registered…
“The most important thing for me is that there are young people voting and making their voices heard. I’m not going to be here so I have to do a postal vote. People should do whatever it takes.
“It takes a minute. You go online and register. It is important and it does not take long and for the impact it has on your life it takes a small amount of time.”
Even at 18, I’m too young to care..
“I think you have to start thinking seriously at some point how the way the society that you live in is being run.
“It affects not only yourself but other people. For me, the main reason to be engaged in politics is to think about everyone and try to have your say.
“It’s finding a way of making things work for everyone.”
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