Vauxhall pupils quiz local MP on democracy and elections

Vauxhall pupils quiz local MP on democracy and elections

Local MP and Shadow Minister for Democracy, Florence Eshalomi, visited Platanos College in Vauxhall earlier today (26 January) to speak to pupils about voting, registering to vote and their democratic rights.

The visit comes ahead of the Electoral Commission’s annual ‘Welcome to Your Vote Week’, starting Monday 29 January, which encourages young people to engage in democracy, upcoming elections and voting. 

Pupils aged 15 to 18 discussed different approaches to engaging young people in politics and put their questions to Florence Eshalomi MP, and Craig Westwood, the Director of Communications, Policy and Research at the Electoral Commission.   

Florence Eshalomi, MP for Vauxhall and Shadow Minister for Democracy, said:

“Young people are part of a healthy democracy and we need to help them feel empowered to take part and have the confidence to vote.

“There are no silly questions when it comes to voting and elections. It was fantastic to meet the pupils of Platanos College and get involved in their discussions about democracy and their right to vote.”

Welcome to your Vote Week forms part of the Electoral Commission’s wider work to support democratic education. The Commission provides resources for schools, teachers and youth workers to help young people find out more about voter registration, political campaigning and how to cast your vote. They also allow young people to take a closer look at democracy in the UK and understand how they can have their say.

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications, Policy and Research at the Electoral Commission, said: 

“We want to show young people that politics and democracy impacts everything around them. Democratic education is the key, as it serves to deepen young people’s understanding of elections and gives them the confidence to participate. 

“Some of the young people we met today will be voting for the first time this year, in upcoming elections in May, and again at a general election sometime this year. Sessions like this will give them the information they need to register and vote with confidence.”

Yasmin Salih, 15, who took part in the activities, said: 

“It was really interesting and inspiring to meet our local MP. I learnt about the importance of voting and that one person and one vote can make a difference and have a real impact. 

“Sessions like this are important because otherwise you could turn 18 and not know how to vote. The conversations we’ve had today can help young people understand and get more interested in voting and elections.”

Educators and students who want to take part in ‘Welcome to your vote’ week can access the free resources from the Electoral Commission website at https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/learning

Ends

For photographs of the event please visit our website, or for more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk 

Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
        •    enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
        •    regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
        •    using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency
    The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK, Welsh and Scottish parliaments .
  2. Welcome To Your Vote Week is an annual campaign run by the Electoral Commission to encourage teachers and youth workers to start talking about democratic rights and democratic participation with the young people they work with. Free resources can be found on the Electoral Commission website: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/learning.