Fining non-voters given short shrift by youths

Local elections for Fylde Borough Council at Lytham YMCA.
Local elections for Fylde Borough Council at Lytham YMCA.
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Youngsters and youth group bosses have slammed plans to fine those who do not vote at their first election.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank has raised concerns about the turnout of young voters, leaving to plans being outlined to introduce fines in order to boost turnout figures.

In this year’s local elections, it was estimated 32 per cent of people aged 18 to 24-years-old voted across the country.

However, one Fylde coast youngster says they should not be put under pressure to vote. Bethany Acton, 17, from Layton, is the former chairman of Blackpool Young People’s Council.

She said: “It’s not right because a lot of people haven’t been educated on the voting system. I wouldn’t vote if I didn’t know much about it, so I think young people would benefit more from learning about the electoral system and knowing what it’s all about.”

Laurance Hancock, operations manager of the Boathouse Youth Group, said: “If I don’t vote I wouldn’t get charged, so why should a young person? It should be left up to them to decide, otherwise where’s the democracy?

“Youngsters should be given the choice to learn about elections if they want to.”

Guy Lodge, an associate director at the think tank, said: “Young people who don’t vote today are less likely than previous generations to develop the habit of voting as they get older, which is why first time compulsory voting is so important.”

The IPPR’s report will now be considered by political parties.

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