Can Facebook improve election turnout?

By on 09/04/2010 in Blog, Elections, Elections 2010

First time voter Amelia Walker makes her reasons for voting in the General Election known. 

Exciting news this week as the British electoral system - or at least a small part of it - was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

It has been reported that the Electoral Commission will turn to Facebook for the first time to encourage young voters to head to the ballot box.

It is hoped that tens of thousands of unregistered voters will download personalised registration forms from the social networking site, ahead of the April 20 deadline for the General Election on May 6.

Hopefully this can counteract the apathy from many of my peers - who can't see the point in having a voice when the country goes to the ballot box next month.

I know where I'll be on May 6 but what about the rest of young Britain?

I am an 18 year old student with a hundred and one things to do, so with the choice of either organising myself to vote at the General Election or enjoying some downtime in front of the telly, there are no prizes for guessing the most likely answer for  many of my generation.

But surely that's not good enough.

A recent survey carried out by comparison website 'Right Mobile phone' found the number of young people who voted on reality TV shows was higher than the percentage of young people who said they would be voting in the general election this year. 

That's staggering. Surely we can do better than to waste our time voting for superficial celebrity wannabes to draw out their 15 minutes of  'fame' and use our time to fit in the voting that really matters?  

I'm making sure that I'll be a first time voter and not a first time abstainer at this year's General Election and would hope many of my peers will do the same.

The outcome on May 6 affects us all, so it's time we made the voices of the younger generation heard and started voting more.

Personally I'm excited at the prospect of voting in a General Election for the first time.   Voting in a General Election, especially one as talked about as this one, is a momentous occasion - I want to take part, not be a spectator grumbling on the sidelines.

The deadline to register to vote for the May 6 general election is April 20 so make sure you have your say - your vote counts.

If it takes Facebook to encourage younger voters to have a say then so be it. Maybe one day we'll decide who runs the country with a quick poll on twitter!

As for who I'll be voting for on May 6, well that's between me and the ballot box. But one thing is for sure - I won't be wasting my vote.

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