The general election is a historic opportunity to give young people their voice back

This fourth of July will be the most important general election of our lifetimes.  We’re at an historic point, with the opportunity for a profound change of direction.

It’s vital that as many people as possible vote, especially younger voters, who have the most skin in the game.  Ironically, at this election, they will find it harder to vote than ever before. 

At the last election just one in three people under 34 voted, at this election that figure could fall. Across the population, voter turnout has been in decline for decades.  We need to re engage with politics and we need changes that increase participation, not reduce it.  Our democracy is being drained of legitimacy, a powerful downward spiral that feeds itself.  Something must be done.

Today I’m launching Just Vote, a campaign with the aim of persuading 1,000,000 young people to register to vote.

I’m doing this with the support of Saatchi & Saatchi who have had a powerful influence on British political history. In partnering with Just Vote, they’re underlining the importance of making sure that young people have a voice. 

My message to all is this: voting is your superpower. It’s the single biggest way to make a difference. In certain policy areas, it’s the only way. No amount of debate, protest or direct action can penetrate the current government’s ideological blinkers on certain issues.  

The difference new voters can make is colossal; not just to the outcome, but to the legitimacy of the next government. There will be nearly three million people who will be able to vote for the first time at this election – an audience we especially want to reach.

Voting also carries social capital. YouGov research commissioned for Just Vote found that the UK public thinks people who vote are more intelligent, trustworthy, and attractive than non-voters. 

Finally, it’s not enough just to persuade young people that voting is worth their while. Just Vote’s mission is to ensure that young people are able to exercise that right unhindered by the government’s new Voter ID legislation. Let’s call it what it is: voter suppression. Just Vote will raise awareness of the new requirements, ensuring that no young person suffers the same humiliating fate as Boris Johnson, when he turned up at the local elections last month attempting to use a copy of Prospect Magazine as ID. 

The snap election has shortened the time available. We’re focussed on persuading as many young people as possible to vote, and then help them jump through the new hoops – registering to vote by 18 June deadline and having the correct ID.  

And finally, when the day comes – to Just Vote.