Youth election to Community Councils

A project by Aberdeenshire Council to encourage the election of young people to Community Councils means Andrew McMenemie from Pitmedden wins a seat unopposed on Udny Community Council.

The election of Andrew is for a yearly term and any pupil would remain eligible for re-election if then doing another school year.

The election project from Aberdeenshire is aimed at increasing involvement by young people in what happens in their local communities, giving them a real say in the forum of local opinion. The elections and nominations process was run authentically by the council’s Electoral Participation Sub Group, previously responsible for a series of elections in the area’s schools.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Chief Executive and Returning Officer for elections, Colin Mackenzie, said: “We think this is the first election of its kind, aimed at increasing young people’s involvement in the local democratic process.“Community councils have an important role, representing the views of those who live and work locally, and young people are part of those communities too.

“As well as representing other young people in their community, the pupils are also getting a taste of how elections work and an insight into how they can get involved.”

Elections coordinator and Depute Returning Officer, Allan Bell, said: “Our aim is to continue to raise awareness among young people of the importance of voting and engaging in democracy.

“One way of doing this is to encourage levels of youth participation and representation on community councils.

“Through a project like this, we hope to extend the involvement of young people on community councils across Aberdeenshire and to increase understanding of the importance of the work of community councils.”

The Grampian Electoral Registration Officer, Ian Milton, said: “We are busy adapting our registration system to cater for under-18s voting in the national referendum next year and this type of project, focussing on community councils which are the local component of our system of democracy, is an ideal opportunity to give young people real-world citizenship training.”

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