Scottish Party Leaders call on young people to vote in Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections
Young people are being urged to have their say as the deadline approaches for voting in the Scottish Youth Parliament elections.
Young people aged 12-25 are able to cast their vote to elect their local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament until Friday 13th March 2015.
The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. It provides a national platform for young people to discuss issues important to them and affect the change they wish to see.
Young people can cast their vote by submitting a paper ballot or using the e-voting system, depending on the method chosen by their local authority.
Further information on candidates standing for election can be found at www.syp.org.uk/elections.
Nairn McDonald MSYP was re-elected as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Cunninghame South in 2013, and after 4 years as an MSYP, Nairn has chosen not to stand for re-election. Speaking about his time as an MSYP, Nairn said:
“The current Membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament has campaigned on a range of issues of importance to Scotland’s young people over the past two years. I’m so proud to have been at the heart of campaigns which have helped to shape historic changes in our society, such as the lowering of the voting age, marriage equality, and the implementation of policies to help young carers facing financial hardship.
“During my time as an MSYP, I’ve witnessed a huge increase in the level of engagement of Scotland’s young people with politics. Around 80% of 16- and 17-year-olds registered to vote in the independence referendum, and knowing that SYP engaged with over 18,500 young people and registered thousands of first time voters makes me extremely proud to have been an MSYP during this momentous occasion in our country’s history.
“As an organisation, we have passionately advocated for young people through three national campaigns. We’ve held 6 national Sittings across the country, venturing as far as the Shetland Islands for our June 2015 AGM, and debated numerous issues that our constituents have told us are important to them.
“This election is a hugely momentous occasion for Scotland’s young people, and with enthusiastic and committed young people at the forefront of shaping our society, I believe we can all look forward to substantive positive change driven by the future Members of SYP.
“Being a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament is a truly life-changing experience. I hope that everyone engages with the election campaigns taking place in their local area, and casts a vote for the candidate they would like to represent their views.”
Leaders and representatives of Scotland’s main political parties shared messages of support for all of those standing as candidates in the Scottish Youth Parliament national elections.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Scotland’s young people have never been more engaged in politics. Giving 16 and 17 year olds the chance to vote in the referendum helped hugely in fuelling the democratic engagement that saw a massive turnout of almost 85 per cent, with a record 3.6 million people turning out to vote, including more than 100,000 16 to 17 year-olds.
“I hope we see a continuation in that political engagement and wish all the candidates in the Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections the very best of luck.”
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Kezia Dugdale MSP, said:
“Young people are often called the future of our democracy, but they are much more than that. The Scottish Youth Parliament is a fantastic opportunity for young people to shape Scottish politics today. I hope as many people as possible vote and stand in these important elections”
Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said:
“Young Scots proved themselves to be an engaged and articulate group during the referendum.
“I encourage as many young people as possible to stand and to get involved in the upcoming SYP elections.
“I wish everyone involved the very best of luck.”
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-Convenor of the Scottish Greens said:
“The Scottish Youth Parliament plays an important role in ensuring the voice of Scottish youth is heard and it is great to see so many people already getting involved. It is essential that young people are encouraged to participate in politics and are motivated to care about the way the country is run. Voting for candidates in the upcoming Scottish Youth Parliament election is a good first step in participating in this process. Congratulations to those who are standing and I wish all candidates the best of luck.”
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP said:
“I wish all of the candidates the best of luck in their campaign. 2014 was the year young people proved naysayers that they could carry themselves with dignity and maturity in public debate. I hope that 2015 sees the continued participation of young people in politics continue on such a huge scale. The Scottish Youth Parliament elections is a fantastic opportunity for young people to put their mark on society. I hope that young people vote use their responsibility to vote in these elections to demonstrate why it should be a right in every election.”