For many young people in Shetland, including my youngest son, the by-election on 29 August will be the first time they’ve had the opportunity to vote.
Lowering the voting age to 16 for Scottish elections has been a key achievement of the SNP government and I’ve seen more young people inspired to get involved in politics thanks to the change.
Across Scotland, we’ve seen young people taking part in the schools’ climate change demonstrations – campaigning for a better future. This month, first time voters aged 16 and 17 need to make their voices heard in Shetland.
By now everyone should have received a polling card. If you have not it may be that you are not registered to vote and may face disappointment on polling day. If I could take this opportunity to notify the young people of Shetland that, if they have not already done so, they should register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote by the 13th of August (next Tuesday).
It is an easy process; all you need is your National Insurance number and a few minutes. It would be very helpful if parents or guardians, schoolteachers and political candidates of all persuasions could remind first time voters in their care of their rights.
This by-election is an opportunity for young Shetlanders to shape not just their own future, but Scotland’s future.
Convener Shetland SNP