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Letters / Young people should be encouraged to vote

Calling all 16 and 17-year-olds – please exercise your right to vote.

If you are the parent, grandparents or guardian of a 16 or 17-year-old, please encourage them to get involved but at least register and vote.

Why vote?

·         Democracy doesn’t work if we don’t vote.

·         Politicians look after their voters. Why bother with young people’s concerns if they don’t vote?

·         Young people who don’t vote are much less likely to ever vote. We need to encourage people to get into the habit.

To those who say it’s a waste of time

While our system may not be perfect and, in a democracy, we don’t always get the person we vote for, the alternate is infinitely worse.

Russia, China, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Syria to name but just a few that currently make the headlines – are places where your vote, if you have one, is irrelevant. 


The 16 and 17-year-olds I have spoken to said that there had been no formal discussions in school on the local elections. I find that very disappointing. Of course, it’s a difficult line for teachers to tread as they must remain neutral, but there are ways around that. For example, mock debates where students are randomly selected to present a case help to highlight the issues and encourage participation.

At the very least they should be encouraged to register to vote and encouraged to vote, with advice on how to register and what to expect when voting.

Register by 11.59pm on 18 April to vote in the local government elections in Scotland on 5 May.

Register to vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Dennis Leask
Election candidate for Lerwick South