Cornwall’s Election for Young People

With all the local and national coverage you certainly know there will be an election happening later this year.  However, before we get to the May General Election, there is an important election that will be taking place between 28th January and 6th February. What is this election? Well readers, it the equally important election for the Members of the Youth Parliament.

There are almost 120,000 children and young people up to the age of 18 in Cornwall, and these elections are a real opportunity for them to help shape their own future. Research shows that older people are traditionally the largest group who vote in national elections which means that their concerns and issues are taken seriously by the main political parties.  I want to see decision makers locally and nationally listen to and act on the concerns and issues facing young people and taking part in these elections is a good start in making this happen.

In November 2014, I made this comment that n the 2010 elections over 75% of over 65’s voted and the receive free bus travel, free tv license’s, free prescription, winter fuel allowance and many more items. Only 44% of 18 to 25’s voted, they had EMA taken away, tuition fees tripped and youth services are being slashed. If you don’t vote you don’t have a voice.

The MYP election takes place every two years in Cornwall and fits in with the national programme. The process formally begins in the autumn term where candidates are recruited through schools, colleges, youth projects, and other youth organisations across Cornwall.  The elections and candidates are then promoted through schools and projects from January into February when the election takes place.  All young people in Cornwall aged between 11 and 18 can stand as candidates and vote in the election. Those succesful candidates take up office in February.

Cornwall’s MYP election will also be the first year voting will be completed using an online format; young people will need a Unique Voting Code (UVC) to enable them to complete the voting process. This is exciting, as if we can organise electronic for young people, then why can’t we do this for town and parish, county and if possible, national and European elections. The number of votes cast will be monitored daily and published on the website. In the 21st Century, we really to look at alterative methods of voting and one I think should stand alongside the Polling Station and the postal vote is electronic voting.

To help encourage schools and colleges to get involved in the elections process this year there will be a Democracy Award Scheme with schools and colleges taking part receiving a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award based on their level of participation. To receive a Bronze Award 50% of young people in the school or college must vote in the election; to receive a Silver Award 70% must vote, rising to 90% for the Gold Award.  The online voting site will monitor the turnout for each school and college, with progress reports being sent to each one during the voting period.

The Candidates for the MYP Elections are: http://www.mi-event.info/event/cornwall-myp-elections2015

Let’s hope these MYP elections have a great turnout with as many young people taking part by voting. It is important to #haveyoursay

 

 

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