Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 March 2015

Young voters deserve ballot

Young people have a valuable contribution to make to politics in Northern Ireland.

They can help bring about real and positive change, but only if they are registered to vote and make their vote count.

However, the reality is that a large number of our young people, in every constituency across Northern Ireland, are not on the electoral register and are being denied their democratic right to vote in the European election on June 4.

The problem in many cases is that young people don’t have the necessary utility bills, bank statements or other documents required to prove their address. This is acting as a major barrier to their registration.

What many young people don’t know however is that

their parents can sign a guarantor form available from the Electoral Office and this will be accepted as proof of address.

I would strongly encourage schools to work with the Electoral Office to encourage and help their pupils to do this.

I will be urging the Electoral Office to visit fifth-year pupils before they leave school to promote the importance of electoral registration, getting an electoral ID card and using, not losing, your vote.

And of course the SDLP will continue to do all it can to help as many people as possible to get on the electoral register and use their vote at the European election.

Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP

Deputy Leader of SDLP

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