Politics 101: why you should vote, who you should vote for and everything you should know

Because it impacts YOU and your future

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Whilst you might not think politics impacts you and your life just yet, it 100 per cent does - and as the intelligent 16-24 year old we all know you are (right? RIGHT?), it's important to take control of your own future.

Which is why you need to get clued up on the political parties, how and why you should vote and what to do when it comes to election time - hence where Michael Sani comes in. He's the CEO of Bite the Ballot, and has given us a step by step 101 guide to politics.

Politics 101: why you should vote, who you should vote for and everything you should know
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Step 1: Registering

Now hear me out - this isn't just a dusty process to file away your details and get you your ballot paper. This is the first step on your journey as a ChangeMaker, putting you on the 'political' map and ensuring you can no longer be ignored.

16-24 year olds are the largest group missing from the register. Which means that we're the easiest group to let down when decisions get tough. Are you going to let yourself be a pushover?

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Alone, we may believe we have little influence, but there are 7.4 million 16-24 years olds in the UK and if we engage, that's a number no-one can ignore.

If you need a credit card, a phone contract, student finance, or a mortgage? Being on the electoral register starts and improves your credit rating. Oh, and it also makes society fairer - because juries are picked through the electoral register. If 16-24s continue not to register, we'll continue to have less of us playing a role in social justice.

If you think you are rebelling by not getting involved - think again. Voting is important because it actually gives you a chance to be represented in parliament, meaning decisions which impact you could be made in your favour.

Michael Sani

Step 2: Finding out who represents you

Alright, so you've decided to put yourself out there and register to vote. HOORAY YOU. Now you've got to put that to good use - and understandly, the endless candidates and policies can be confusing.

Which is why you have to remember, politics is about YOU. Not the guy off the telly who's trying to defend himself. YOU. And the issues you care about. What makes you angry locally, nationally, globally? What do you care about and want to protect? Take those issues and talk to each other about them. You'll soon see that many of us care about the same things even if we don't always want the same outcomes.

When enough of you engage you'll be able to ensure candidates and parties that come your way (and they will come if you're all registered) are discussing your priorities. Then you'll be able to see who measures up and who's worth your vote!

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Step 3: #TakePower

No matter what decision you're casting your voting in, someone is going to disagree with you. That's the great thing about democracy, it's a chill way for us all to be opinionated without it kicking off (most of the time, anyway). Sometimes this will mean the decision won't go your way. Your favourite candidate might not be elected, a referendum might not go your way and so on and so forth.

SO WHAT? By voting, you've added yourself to a critical mass telling the world what you believe in. And no matter who's in power, this is something that they can't ignore.

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Don't let the outcome dishearten you, just because your local decision-maker doesn't fit with you perfectly doesn't mean they can't help you out. See them at their surgeries (these are meetings taking place in your local area every Friday - you can turn up without an appointment to speak with your MP). Tweet them. Email them. Let them know when they do things that annoy you, and give them credit when they do things well. And then tell your family. And your friends.

You are a ChangeMaker - it's time to fulfil your potential. It's not going to be easy - it never has been, but you can and will do something no one has ever done before... evolve our democracy so it works for us all. Start with the EU referendum - register to vote here (the opportunity to register has even been extended because it's so bloody important.)

IT'S IMPORTANT. IT AFFECTS YOU. USE YOUR VOTE. 

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