Electoral Reform Society Scotland and Bite the Ballot call for voter registration in schools
Electoral Reform Society Scotland and Bite The Ballot call on the next Scottish government to make voter registration and citizenship part of the school curriculum
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Scotland and Bite The Ballot are calling on the next Scottish government to make voter registration and citizenship a part of the school curriculum in a bid to tackle apathy among young voters.
The two organisations have joined forces to ask parties to sign a pledge backing the three recommendations of the Electoral Reform Society’s ‘Scotland’s Future Citizens’ report.
The report argues that with the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16 for the referendum on independence and for Holyrood elections, “now is the perfect opportunity to foster a generation of informed and active citizens.”
The campaigners want the Scottish Government to ensure that every young person leaves school registered to vote, able to understand political processes and equipped to take action to improve their schools and communities.
#ThePledge calls for voter registration at schools for 16 and 17 years olds to be included in the Curriculum for Excellence, for Modern Studies to be taught in every school and for practical citizenship development to be part of the Curriculum for Excellence.
This hands-on citizenship education might include mock elections, more democratically run schools where pupils make collective decisions and social action to resolve issues in the local community, they suggest.
ERS Scotland and Bite The Ballot have written to all the parties in Scotland to back the pledge.
Willie Sullivan, Scottish Director of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Even though young people today are the most connected generation in history, they're also the generation that is most disconnected from politics.
“They are either cut off from, don't value or aren't participating in political processes. But can we blame them?
"To combat this, it's vital that young people's voices are heard and that their priorities are understood - and acted on.
“But we need a much bigger focus on democracy in our schools if we're going to develop citizens who are engaged from the very start of their adult lives.”
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