Malcolm Harvey discusses his work with young voters in the run up to the referendum.
When the Edinburgh Agreement was signed in October 2012, it set out the rules the independence referendum would operate under. One of the more controversial elements of the agreement was to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds, which added some 124,000 new electors to the register. It also prompted some concerns about the readiness of young voters to participate in the political process.
They will only constitute three per cent of the electorate when Scotland goes to the polls, but the views of young people provide a fascinating glimpse into the future politics of Britain.
The Electoral Commission this week began a publicity drive to ensure that people register to vote in the referendum. It has launched a dedicated website and is working with Facebook to target potential younger voters including 16 and 17 year olds who will be able to vote for the first time. In a guest blog, Dr Andrew Mycock of the University of Huddersfield, who was part of the UK government’s Youth Citizenship Commission in 2008-9, looks at the enfranchising of younger people and the lessons for the whole of the UK.