There was a Scottish Parliamentary election on May 5th 2016 which followed the reduction of the voting age from 18 to 16, meaning that thousands of young people had the opportunity to head to a polling station for the first time. 19 year-old Emma Campbell explains why it's vital that young people use their vote.
"Voting for the Scottish Elections begins at 7am on the 5th of May, and stays open right through until 10PM. If you have registered it is important that you use your vote, a right that many other people in the world do not have.
In the 2010 General Election, only 44% of 18-24 year olds voted, compared to 76% of over 65s. As a result of this key policies are often targeted to older age groups as politicians know they can count on them to actually go out and vote.
However in this election we can change this, if we all go out and use our vote then politicians are going to take notice of us. This means they’re going to want to target more policies at young people, not just now, but for many years to come in order to get our vote. So use your vote to your advantage.
Voting in Scottish Parliamentary Elections ensures you will get a say in what sort of policies will affect not only you, but the rest of Scotland for years to come. The Scottish Government is able to introduce laws to do with education, health, housing and justice. Additionally, the Scottish Parliament is also going to receive new powers over Income Tax, as well as some aspects of welfare.
Unlike popular TV shows like Big Brother or The X Factor, voting is completely free, and is also a lot more important as it gives us the power to have a say in who represents us in Parliament. On top of this, voting takes literally a few minutes and has a direct impact on millions of people’s lives.
Political parties all have a different idea on how Scotland should be run, and it's important to see what political party’s policies you most agree with by reading their manifestos. Once you find a party whose policies you most agree with, it is crucial to then go out and actually vote for them. There’s no point just hoping for a certain political party to come in to power but not actually going out and voting!
Remember voting will affect your life, as well as the lives of your family, friends, and the rest of Scotland. So why would you not want to go out and vote for something so important?"
Find out more about the Scottish Election.