Wales’ young voters need more support to engage in elections, says report
More education and engagement is needed to support young voters to understand and participate in Welsh elections, according to recent research and analysis by the Electoral Commission.
Approximately one in five newly enfranchised 16-17-year-olds in Wales registered to vote ahead of the local government election on May 5, with turnout lowest amongst younger age groups.
Feedback gathered for the Commission’s post-poll report on the Welsh local government elections in 2022 found a lack of motivation to engage in elections amongst young people.
Reasons given included not knowing enough about candidates, parties and the democratic process in general.
“While most people were satisfied with this year’s elections, we know there remains a lack of understanding and motivation to engage in elections amongst young voters,” Head of The Electoral Commission Wales Rhydian Thomas said.
“Many young people don’t understand why they haven’t learnt about voting and democracy in more detail at school. We are working closely with the Welsh Government to develop our education resources to ensure they can effectively support the delivery of democratic education in schools through the new curriculum.”
The report also includes feedback from parents in Wales. While 77% of parents think it’s important that children learn the basics about politics, voting and democracy at school, just 22% think the current information their children get on these topics is sufficient.
The Commission’s democratic education resources were updated ahead of the election and are designed to help young people understand how to get involved in democracy and support educators to teach political literacy. Work is now underway to develop the resources further.
The report also finds that some candidates reported experiencing abuse, threatening behaviour and intimidation at the election.
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I’m an Electoral Registration Engagement Officer for a Welsh LA. I’ve gone into schools and colleges, prior to the Local Elections in May, to inform, educate and encourage our young people to register and vote. There’s genuine interest and a desire to know more. We’re best placed to do it , but there’s no budget for it, certainly not in the face of rising costs for front-line services and reduced overall LA budgets. Some will say that schools should do more, and they probably could, but: – teachers are already full-up with the existing curriculum (and now we have a… Read more »