Aug 152014
Struan King - European Elections Polling Station

Struan King believes the value placed on the youth vote needs to change.

With thanks to Struan King.

Two young people from Aberdeen have written to Jenny Laing and Mike Russell calling for 16 and 17 year olds to be allowed time off school to vote in the referendum.
Aberdeen Central’s two MSYPs have asked whether those in school and who are registered to vote could be allowed to miss out some of their school day to visit their local polling station and cast their ballots.

Struan King is the former Chairperson of Aberdeen City Youth Council 2013-14

Struan King MSYP commented:

Young people are those who will be most affected by the Scottish Question and as such it is essential that they are given every possible opportunity to get involved.

 Voting is a key part of the democratic process and that is something that is now part of the Curriculum for Excellence being taught in schools. Rather than preaching the importance of taking part in politics, we hope that they can instead be given time to actually make their mark.”

“As part of the run-up to the September Vote we as MSYP aim to reach as many young people as possible and will be supporting a variety of engagement activities in Aberdeen”

Michael Hutchison added:

“This would be a simple and practical measure to ensure that young people have the opportunity to actually cast their vote.

“Allowing those who have registered to vote to take a short time out of school to get to and from the polling station shouldn’t be asking for too much.

“I hope that this suggestion will be considered and I would be delighted if it helped lead to increased turnout among young people.”


Struan King MSYP commented:

“It is common practice for young people to be excluded from participating in the democratic process; the value placed on the youth vote needs to change.”

“No matter how they vote we want to ensure they do vote and do so informed and empowered”

“There are so many issues that affect young people and very few elected members are actively consulting or championing their voices. What we as a Youth Parliament do is step up to ensure every young person has their voice and has the information to get involved.”


Struan King MSYP commented:

“Extending the Vote to 16 & 17 year olds is a landmark for Scottish politics. The acid test will come post September in how this historic opportunity is carried forward; has the referendum re-engaged youth and will we see more young people involved in all levels of the democratic process.”

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  4 Responses to “Should Young People Be Allowed Time Off School To Vote”

  1. Perhaps, given the importance of the vote, everyone should be allowed a half day off work to vote? But then again, polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm, affording everyone, even schoolchildren, the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

  2. Agreed – polls are open a sufficiently long time and people should have enough time to get to one (every time I go to the one in Torry regardless of time of day, it’s just a handful of voters and the volunteers – very disappointing). For anyone who is completely unable to get to a poll, there is the postal vote. Here is a simple, useful BBC piece on the subject. Want a postal vote? Ask for one before 3 September

  3. What next? There are approx. 8 hours outwith the school day available to vote. Allowing pupils time off will cause administrative issues on schools .

  4. A think es is jist a ruse bi the twa young fowk ti git time aff fae their lessons nithing really ti dee wi voting in the referendum

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