“Sweet Sixteen: The Possibility of a More Youthful Voting Body”

“Sweet Sixteen: The Possibility of a More Youthful Voting Body”

Author: Gabriel Sanders, 99% Campaign team member and IARS Communications and Policy Intern When I hear Russell Brand, whom I first got to know as a hilarious actor and comedian, exercise his influence over the young and relatively young British citizens regarding the vote with a phrase like, “I don’t care,”[1] I wonder: How many teenagers, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, members of any demographic hear his declaration and allow it to echo and resonate within their minds? I’ll draw on figures quoted in The Guardian last August for my statistics. Evidently, only 42-43% of the UK population feels any differently from Brand. That paltry figure represents the portion of the population who voted in the 2014 election, the lowest in UK history.[2] While Russell Brand cannot take credit for the steadily decreasing turnout, as it’s been decreasing since the 1960s, what can anyone expect for the upcoming election for overall turnout? What can be expected especially of the youth voters most likely to identify with his sentiment or share it for their own apathetic reasons? In a related poll cited in the same article, 59% of respondents (from all ages) stated: “People like me have no say in what the government actually does,” while nearly the same proportion, 60%, stated that “voting is the only way to have any say” whatsoever. It would be difficult to correlate these figures, but it can be said safely that the population is quite conflicted about their purpose in the electoral process in the UK. Why would the youth demographic, especially the youngest potential voters, feel any different? A poll taken by the UK Household...