Why I decided to vote as a young person in the Sheffield local elections
If I'm honest, I was the person that at 16, had already decided not to vote when the opportunity came around.
I was strictly against the idea of lowering the voting age so I could put it off a little longer and I refused to offer my views on any sort of political issue - whether about my local council leader or the US presidential debate. I thought I simply wasn’t interested.However now that I’m 18 and about to vote in my first election, I’ve realised I’ve never lacked enthusiasm on politics, I just didn’t know enough to comment or pass judgement. At the start of my job as an apprentice journalist I didn’t know who my local MP was, what a council meeting consisted of or what the job of a Sheffield City Region mayor would entail.I’m not afraid to admit ithis as I’m sure there are so many just like me who simply don’t know enough.I then started to realise that when it comes to elections, keeping your ears open is so important. Having now spent time thinking about the right choice for me, I’ll now be able to vote in the confidence that I’m not wasting an opportunity to voice my opinion.My workplace has been so beneficial, as I sit on a desk of Local Democracy Reporters who keep me up to date with the world of local politics and answer all of my questions, no matter how daft I think they are. I’ve also been given the opportunity to shadow a reporter when the votes are counted - something that I never thought I would look forward to , but is now turning into an exciting prospect.My apprenticeship has also given me the chance to study public affairs where I can find out everything I need to know about my vote.It’s certainly clear that without the opportunities that came with my job, I would still be in the place I was at 16.This makes it ever more obvious to me that we need more education for young people on how to vote.I have so many friends who never know who to vote for and know of so many families that simply throw away election leaflets.It’s time we started engaging more young people in elections, and this probably will mean modernising how we vote.Even if that means introducing online voting, I think it should be done. How many more people would actually consider choosing a party if it meant some research then simply clicking a box online on election day?When you start to modernise systems, young people become much more involved.Isn’t it important we start to work to the future generation’s needs? For a girl that was never bothered, I’d like to say I’m now getting pretty clued up on politics. And if you’re the same as I was, I’d definitely suggest reading up on why your vote really does count.