Young people want weekend voting

Posted on March 23, 2007 at 01:32 PM

Yesterday we held a press conference calling for the voting age to be lowered to 16 for Local and European elections. At one stage Eamon Gilmore TD was asked what he thought about voting at the weekend, you can see what he said on this video. Apologies for the poor sound quality.

We weren't the only ones talking about weekend voting, Irish has started an online petition calling for voting to take place at the weekend.

The main argument for this is to enable the thousands of people who work and study away from their home town and who would find it impossible to go home on a Thursday to vote before travelling back to their jobs or college on Friday.

The Government is ignoring its own statistics on what people want. The Central Statistics Office publish a major survey of voting attitudes from 2002. While six people out of ten said that it made no different to them what day the election was called, of those who said it mattered more than half wanted Saturday. When you then look at the breakdown of statistics an interesting pattern emerges.

For young people Saturday voting was even more important - 40.1 per cent of people aged 18 or 19 favoured Saturday for polling day, while 36.6 per cent of the 19 to 24-year-old age bracket wanted to vote on Saturday. More than half of the students surveyed preferred a Saturday vote.

Those who failed to vote in 2002 were just as clear about wanting to vote on Saturday - with 30% of young people who did not vote giving 'being busy or away' as the reason.

With this sort of official information to hand, you have to wonder why the Government is so keen to make voting so inconvenient.

If you feel strongly about this sign the online petition which you can find here.

Work Thursday, vote Saturday

Many youth organisations support our call to lower the voting age including NYCI. After all young people have no problems in voting in TV programmes such as Big Brother or You're A Star yet they are unable to vote on the real issues that affect their lives. There are many issues that directly affect young people and their voices need to be heard, who better to tell us what young people need than 16 and 17 year olds. You can read more here on Eamon's statement and here on Joe's.

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