If you're not into politics, voting might seem like a hassle - just another Saturday errand. It's so easy to forget that voting is a tremendous gift; a right that many people all over the world don't have. But despite it being compulsory to vote, not everyone does so.
Last election, up to one in four young people weren't even enrolled to vote.
Notwithstanding that it is a legal obligation; young people should enrol and then vote because they can and because their vote will make a difference.
There are 98,000 registered electors here in Indi, and at the last election the result came down to a difference of 439 votes. It's set to be another nail-biter in a few months’ time. According to the AEC, one in four young people aged 18 to 24 who are eligible to vote are not enrolled; imagine the difference they could make to our election outcome.
Now that Indi's officially a marginal seat, every vote does count and there's a fierce competition underway. If all eligible young people were to enrol and cast their ballot on Election Day, that cohort could very well determine our local result. Young people could be a decisive force.
Not enrolled yet? Perhaps that's because you say you're not interested in politics - but you need to be interested because politics concerns the issues you care about. Naturally, politicians focus on those who might vote for them. So if you're not enrolled then you, and the issues you care about, are not on their radar. Decisions that are made by politicians affect every part of our lives and the only way to have a say about how the world turns out, is to vote.
So, if you're a reluctant voter – please enrol. Then turn up at a candidate Q and A and a town hall meeting to quiz the candidates about those ideas and interests that matter to you. Put your concerns on all of Indi's election candidates’ radar. Make your voice heard.
Enrol to vote at www.aec.gov.asu/enrol/ by 8pm on Monday 23 May 2016.
Tammy Atkins, founding Director of Voices for Indi. V4I is a community organisation based in Northeast Victoria. It has been established by people seeking to re-engage the local community with the political process and sees elections as an opportunity to celebrate our country’s democracy. V4I is keen to encourage young people to participate and enrol to vote.
Covered in The Border Mail here.