A charity is urging young people across Sunderland not to miss out on the chance to vote in this month’s Euro Referendum.
The deadline for registering to vote on-line expires tomorrw and Youth Focus: North East has launched a digital and social media campaign to encourage the region’s youth to play the part in the decision.
Twenty-year-old Jack Stoker, from Sunderland, is one of those taking part: “There’s a strong chance that some young people will feel the EU referendum has nothing to do with them,” he said.
“We need our generation to recognise how important this vote is to all our futures. It’s mainly about the British economy, but it could also change so many aspects of daily life for young Britons.
“This campaign is about making sure young people from our region have their say.”
An online voting tool called My Referendum has been developed. Users logging in with a Facebook account can then vote on whether the UK should leave or remain part of The European Union and access information to help them decide how to vote in the actual referendum on June 23.
The charity has also used live streaming video technology to broadcast ‘Question Time’ style debates on the Referendum to young people watching on Facebook, and live Twitter walls where questions were tweeted direct to politicians and speakers taking part in events.
Youth Focus: North East has partnered with The Ballinger Charitable Trust amid fears large numbers of young people will fail to register and vote in the EU Referendum.
Only 43 per cent of registered voters aged 18-25 voted in last year’s General Election, compared to 78 per cent of over 65’s.
Leon Mexter, chief executive of Youth Focus: North East, said: “Social media and digital technology are playing an increasingly important role in the political process and our EU Referendum voting tool is a useful pilot to see whether young people are more likely to vote online than at the ballot box.”
Youth Focus: North East has staged a series of events and roadshows around the region for young people to learn more about the EU Referendum, including Pizza and Politics evenings and two Hustings nights featuring politicians and lobbyists from the ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ camps.
Voting on My Referendum will close at 23.59 hours on June 16 and the results of the youth vote will be revealed on June 24, the day after the official EU Referendum.
For more information about Youth Focus: North East, visit: www.youthfocusne.org.uk
Anyone who was registered to vote in the May 2016 elections or the 2015 General Election will be able to vote in the EU referendum as long as they still live at the same address.
To register, visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
*Check out the latest from both sides of the economic argument here.