In June 2015, Scotland made history by lowering the voting age to 16 for all Scottish elections. We campaigned to have our voices heard, and the Scottish Government responded and agreed. Now it is time to vote!
The first step of exercising your right is to register to vote, something which has to be done by Monday 18 April. If you haven't already registered, you can do it online here. It takes less than five minutes, so get it done now.
I've been talking to young people in my own constituency and visiting schools to encourage everyone over the age of 16 to register before the deadline. I’ve also been talking with them about how to find information about their local candidates and the views of the parties. Knowing a lot about your local candidates will help you make a decision about who you think can best represent the interests of your community.
It's almost impossible to find a political party that has exactly the same views as you, so I advise taking an issue based approach to voting. Prioritise the issues that matter most to you, and then have a look at what each party says they will do in those specific areas. This election has a lot of significance as the new Scottish Parliament will have more powers than ever before. The Scotland Act 2016 has devolved more powers to the Scottish Parliament, including certain tax and welfare powers. I think it is important to look at how each party plans to use the new powers.
It's important that all young people are registered to vote, and show up at the polls on 5 May, but it is a particularly critical election for 16 and 17-year-olds. We need to use the voice we fought so hard for. A high voter turnout among the youngest on the electoral register can only push the case for votes at 16 throughout all UK elections and referendums.
- Amy Lee Fraioli MSYP represents the Rutherglen constituency, and is a Trustee for the Scottish Youth Parliament.