A national campaign to encourage 16 to 17 year olds and qualifying foreign nationals to register to vote in the upcoming May 2022 local elections is underway to ensure that all eligible voters embrace the opportunity to have their say and to make a difference, on both a local and national level.

For 16 to 17 year olds this will be their first ever opportunity to vote in local elections following the Welsh Government lowering the voting age, but they must register before the deadline – midnight on April 14 at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

A nationwide advertising campaign to encourage voter registration is already being rolled out by Welsh Government, and one Pembrokeshire student is urging young people to have their say under the #BecauseICan campaign banner.

18-year-old Anna Long is a pupil at Haverfordwest High School and is very passionate about advocating for voting amongst young people in Wales. She is a member of the Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly,

“There is a perception that it is only older people that are interested in the democratic process but I know that people my age want to help make a difference so that our generation are also represented. I would like to encourage anyone to get involved in helping make their local communities better places to live. Register to vote and use your vote – make a difference!”

Schools and libraries across the country are getting involved by setting up bespoke registration points with staff on hand to guide anyone through the simple registration process.

At Ysgol Bro Myrddin in Carmarthen. they feel it is important to encourage the students to be part of the democratic process as Gareth Jones, subject leader in Government and Politics, explains,

“It is becoming more and more important that young people feel they can play an active part in the community and we feel it is our role to ensure they have the appropriate skills and knowledge to be able to participate in the process. At the local elections, matters are discussed that impact on their daily lives and we aim to impress on them the importance of voting and how easy it is to register to do so.

“On a very positive note, many of the young people are very engaged in the democratic process and play a key role in influencing their peers.”

Key social media influencers have also been recruited to communicate the need to register, and vote, with their young followers. TikTok sensation Ieuan Cooke has recorded a series of messages for his 400,000 followers,

“This is a great opportunity for young people to have their voices heard and it’s free and simple to do. I hope that young people hear these messages and that they not only resonate with them, but are also inspired to register and vote in the election.”

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on April 14 and the local elections will be held on Thursday, May 5. You cannot vote if you have not registered by this date. To register to vote go to: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote