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Monday, 18 February 2019 06:12 pm

High number of first time voters – if they enrol

Nov 18th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News

THE WAIT IS OVER: James Sleep prepares to cast his vote

More than 135,000 people should be voting for the first time next week – if they enrol.

Although 18 to 24 year olds have the second highest enrolment number, they are also the demographic with the highest number of people not enrolled.

First time voter James Sleep, convener of the youth sector of the Council of Trade Unions, believes the voting age should be reduced to 16 in a bid to educate young people while they are still in school.

“The whole idea is you’re getting to young people when they’re in school and you’re giving them a solid civics education component to their curriculum,” he says.

“Then while they’re in school, you get them out to vote.”

“There are stats that show that if you get a young person voting earlier, like at 16, they’re probably going to vote for the rest of their lives.”

James, who is 20 and a student at Victoria University, believes it is up to the education system to inform young people of the role government plays in their lives.

“It’s not about teaching them how to care,” he says.

“It’s about making them understand the significance of government.”

“I believe that if you put that in front of a young person, who knows that they can go out and vote and choose the person who’s not going to cut the minimum wage of young people by 20%, then they will go out and vote.”

Murray Wicks, national manager for the Electoral Enrolment Centre, says more young people are likely to enrol before election day.

“Experience tells us that many young people leave it to the last minute, and it’s now the last minute,” he says.

“By election day, there’s normally around 20% left who haven’t enrolled.”

While more than 330,000 young people aged 18 to 24 are enrolled to vote, almost 109,000 have yet to enrol.

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