For 2017's 18-25 years olds, the opportunity to vote has come sooner than expected.
On 18 April, current Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May called for a general election, that is to be held on 8 June. The general election will decide the members of parliament that will represent each constituency in the UK potentially for the next five years.
Voice will be producing further coverage in the upcoming weeks from a variety of political viewpoints, to help you make an informed decision and create discussion.
So why should you vote? Well, if you're 18 by or on the 8th June, it is important that you exercise your right to vote, so that you have a say on how your country is governed for up to the next five years. Your vote expresses your beliefs and demonstrates to political parties the priorities of their supporters. By voting, you are actively participating in democracy. Voting is also arguably an acknowledgement of respect for those that have previously been disenfranchised; the Suffragettes fought for future generations of women to voice their own political opinions. Regardless of whether you vote for the needs of the majority of society or on principles that benefit you personally, it is paramount that you simply are engaged.
The practical process of voting is simple. With your national insurance and passport number in hand, you must first register to vote. The deadline for this quick task is 22nd May; by this point you do not have to have decided who you want to vote for. This can be completed online or by post, to register your interest in voting. If you do not have access to your local polling station on 8th June, you can register for a postal vote, which means that you can cast your vote before the scheduled election date, to be returned via post or to the polling station itself.
Once you have registered, you should take the time to educate yourself on party policies, a unique set of ideals proposed by each party that they would carry out if they came into power. You should consider which policies you most agree with or fall in line with your own principles. Be sure to use a range of sources to gage a range of opinion.
By the time 8 June rolls around, you should be able to make an informed decision on who to vote for.
Vote wisely… just as long as you vote
You need to register to vote. This takes five minutes and can be done here
You don't need to know yet who you're going to vote for.
You WILL NOT be able to vote if you haven't registered by 22 May
Registering takes five minutes, and you will need your passport and national insurance number