The Electoral Commission has launched a brand new set of educational resources for newly enfranchised 16 and 17 year olds in Wales, who are preparing to cast their votes for the first time.
The tools, designed for use in classrooms and with youth groups across Wales, will help young people who are voting for the first time at the Senedd elections, taking place on 6 May 2021. The handbooks, videos and quizzes cover three key topics – what you can vote for, campaigning and how to vote, – and aim to demystify the voting process for young voters.
The tools have also been created with educators in mind. The Commission’s research found that some educators lack confidence in teaching political literacy, in part due to concerns around displaying a bias to young people. The resources are therefore designed to prepare educators to teach political literacy with confidence.
Nirushan Sudarsan, 21 years old, from Llais Ifanc, Youth Cymru’s young leaders’ panel, said:
“With these resources, we can ensure young people across Wales know their right to vote and that their voice does matter in next year’s elections. Teaching political literacy can be a daunting prospect for teachers and youth leaders. But having information from an independent and impartial source will help us feel better equipped to approach the topic.”
Rhydian Thomas, Head of the Electoral Commission Wales said:
“This is an important time in our democracy in Wales and in the history of the Senedd.
“For the first time, 16 and 17 year olds will be allowed to vote in the 2021 Senedd elections. We want this newly enfranchised group to have the knowledge to register and cast their vote with confidence. That’s why we have created this new set of education resources.
“We know that 33% of 18-34 year olds in Wales are not registered to vote, and that many feel disengaged from politics and the democratic system. With more than 66,000 newly eligible young people in Wales, it’s important they have the information they need to take part in this election. If we can capture the interest and imagination of young voters early on, there's a higher chance that they will become lifelong, engaged and active voters.”
The Commission is piloting the resources in Wales and Scotland ahead of the May 2021 elections before rolling them out across Northern Ireland and England later next year.
All of the resources can be found on the Electoral Commission website at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/learning