This general election offers young people a chance to shape our future. In order to do that we have to vote, but the fact is that young people are missing out on the representation offered by our democratic system by not making trips to their local polling stations.
In the last general election in 2015, Ipsos Mori found that only 43% of 18- to 24-year-olds turned out to vote compared to 78% of people aged over 65, in an election with a national turnout of 66%.
Every vote counts. Yet many people I talk to continue find excuses why they don't vote - from 'I don't care about politics' to 'politicians don't listen to or represent me'.
By not voting, you accept the status quo; only by casting a vote can you have your say. It means that you cannot have a say on a variety of issues that may affect you or friends and family - such tuition fees, the national living wage, our future relationship with the European Union, reductions in housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds and cuts to student disability allowances.
If young people came out and voted in large numbers then politicians would have to really listen to young people's concerns. There's strength in numbers, and the more young people vote, the louder our voice is.
If you are uncertain about how to cast your vote, here are some considerations:
- Do as much research as you can to come to a well-informed judgement before you decide who to vote for. Take a look at the manifestos, the news and social media, and any past and present information about the candidates, because every vote will have an impact around the country.
- There's not right or wrong answer, you are succeeding by going and casting your vote.
Young people deserve to be heard and listened to, and this is too important an opportunity to miss. Don't let someone else dictate your future for you. Have your voice heard: go out and vote.