The Salvation Army for a new generation

Express Yourself

A ‘How To’ guide on engaging and educating young people on voter registration

The General Election in May 2015 is shaping up to be the most exciting in recent history. It follows the 2014 Scottish referendum on independence where turnout was one of the most representative in a long time. A record of 3.6 million marked their ballot papers, and for the first time 16- to 17-year-olds were given the right to vote. More than 100,000 of total voters were 16- to 17-year-olds who had registered. If that momentum can be continued all the way to the UK polling stations in May 2015, it will be amazing and impossible for the political parties to ignore this large part of the population.

If we are to live in a fairer, more equal Britain then it’s vital that as many people as possible exercise their democratic right and vote in May. In 2010 less than 50% of the 18- to 24-year-old age group voted. So it’s vital that all youth leaders, service providers and activists do everything they can to increase turnout amongst the younger generation.

Many issues that The Salvation Army deals with are relevant to young people. Through our work we come into contact with many who are experiencing homelessness, unemployment or drug and alcohol addiction and who lack family support. Our youth groups are filled with young people who are passionate about social action in their community. So it is clear that young people need and want change. But this will only happen if they have a proper voice in our political system.

By starting a conversation on issues that matter and connecting this with politics, The Salvation Army can help to really engage young people and listen to their views and concerns. By equipping young people with the right information The Salvation Army can encourage them to go out and express themselves by voting.

With recent changes to the way in which we register to vote, now is the best time to start that conversation. We are not telling people who they should vote for. This is about ensuring that young people are supported and empowered to have their say at this election by registering to vote.

This handbook will help you with some ideas of how to engage, providing you with the tools, facts and stats to use when trying to convince people that their voice matters and that they can be part of real change in the upcoming election.

We hope that you are able to use this material in whatever setting and context you are in. If you have a youth group whose members are too young to be able to register to vote this time, then this tool will help to get them thinking about the possibility of voting and using their voice in that way in the future. It might also be a springboard for generating ideas on how they can make their voice heard now. If you are 18+ and not in a formal group setting then we would suggest that you use this material in an informal context with your peers to spark debate and discussion.

Whatever setting you use this in, we hope that you will find it a useful tool and that it generates a desire and a passion for people to get their voice heard.

The Salvation Army Public Affairs Team and ALOVE UK

Session Content                Handout 1                       Session Content Handout 1








Handout 2 Handout 2

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