Why we should all vote in the European Elections 2019
James talks about why he feels it is so important for young people to get out and vote on the 24th of May
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The elections for the European parliament take place on Friday the 24th of May. People across Europe will be voting to elect 705 (Brexit depending) MEPs. In Ireland, we will elect 13 MEPs. Anyone who is an Irish or European Citizen and resident in Ireland can vote. To register to vote, you can be added to the register 14 days before polling day. If you want to register to vote, be sure to fill out the forms and hand them in soon.
Why is it so important to vote?
In the last European election, 52% of people turned out to vote compared to 65% in the latest general election. The European Union is becoming increasingly important in our lives and in our future. The youth vote has been historically low for European elections. In Ireland, we have been down 21% turnout for young people. If we increase turnout in May, we will send a strong signal that we believe the European Union is important and that Ireland wants to be at the heart of it.
Elections for the upcoming term will be one of the most important in the history of the Union. There are many big issues which will need to be decided in the next 5 years. It is clear that many young people in Ireland and across Europe see the European Union as a great way to enhance our opportunities to both work and study in the future. No matter your age, it is clear that Brexit will affect our future. This means that our place in the European Union is more important than ever. Voting for candidates who will protect our place in Europe, and aim to improve how the European Union works for young people is essential.
Many young people recently, myself included, were angry when the European Union recently passed a controversial law which redefines copyright law in Europe, which will make large social media platforms responsible for any copyrighted material shared on their pages. One of the issues with the makeup of MEPs and the laws that they passed is that the people who elect the MEPs tend to be a lot older, and they pay less attention to the voices of young people. There are many issues that are important to young people that are decided at an EU level; climate change, the economic future of Europe, data privacy, and travelling, working or studying abroad. One way to ensure that young people are taken seriously is to turn out and vote! Vote for candidates that will ensure that young people’s issues will be at the forefront of law in the EU.
No matter how you’re going to vote in May, it is very important that you do vote at all. It is essential that young people use this opportunity to highlight the issues that are close to their hearts. Young people should take the responsibility to shape the future of the European Union. If you want to find events that relate to the elections, such as debates between candidates, be sure to check out thistimeimvoting.eu.