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Register to Vote and Get a Seat at the Table - Else You'll Be on the Menu

03/06/2016 16:13 | Updated 03 June 2016

young voter

As the deadline for registering ahead of the EU Referendum looms, we're kicking off another National Voter Registration Drive with HOPE not hate - bigger and better than any seen before. The referendum presents a generational issue, one that those currently unregistered or never presented with any type of meaningful engagement at school will live the longest with the decision of.

We risk making a decision where the most connected generation that has ever walked earth aren't able to fulfil their potential to engage. But there is still time. After 6 years of working in this space, I'm still wondering why significant changes are not in place to ensure the continuous and sustainable engagement of our youngest citizens, rather than just before key electoral decisions. Many first time voters are saying that the government's efforts to engage ahead of the referendum is too little too late. They also ask why they're not educated in school, and many feel like the government considers them only a priority when they think they'll support their preferred outcome. And when we consider the lack of engagement of young people in their own spaces, who can blame them?

We cannot afford to only attempt to engage our youngest citizens as an afterthought, and let the absence of political education continue. This is the real issue - and moving forward I hope we are able to see meaningful changes in our education system and laws so that huge voter registrations drives are a thing of the past.

In the meantime - let's draw our attention to the immediate task in hand. We've confirmed and launched collaborations with Deliveroo, Uber and Tinder - to name a few, collaborations that prove that encouraging people to become active citizens can come from the most unconventional of sources. From youth clubs to community groups, faith groups to colleges, housing associations to workplaces - #TurnUp is a campaign showing that you don't have to be doing 'politics' to be political.

Whilst our hope in the long term is to embed empowering political education into the day-to- day life of our nation's young citizens, laying the foundations for them to see decision-making as a benefit as well as a duty, for now we will keep pushing. Keep pushing and calling out for these practices to be put in place, and for everyone with a connection to this generation to use it for good.

So share the following link on your social media - bit.ly/TurnUpEU - and inspire someone you know to #TurnUp ahead of the 7 June voter registration deadline. We quite simply have two choices - to register and take our rightful place at the table or... to continue being part of the menu.

HuffPost UK Young Voices is running a fortnight-long focus on the EU Referendum, examining what is at stake for Britain's young people on 23 June and why it's imperative you register to vote and have your say. If you want to have your say and blog on our platform around this topic, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com. Register to vote here.

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