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16-17 years? Register to vote in upcoming elections

The Highland Youth Convener meets pupils at Inverness Royal Academy to highlight that 16-17 year olds can stand and vote in the upcoming community council elections.  Pictured Back Row L to R are Corey MacDonald (17), Cameron Ross (16) Youth Convener Kat Bateson; Bethan Raynes (16) – Front row L to R – Kara Cockburn (17); Rhiannin Cameron (16) and Euan MacDonald (16)

Your chance to vote – 16 and 17 year olds register now for the Community Council Elections 2015

Did you vote in last year’s independence referendum? Did it spark your interest in getting involved in your local area?

16 and 17 year olds can represent their community by nominating themselves to be local Community Councillors in the election this autumn, as well as being eligible to vote in the Community Council elections. This is your chance to help represent the views of your community to the Highland Council and other public agencies.

Community Councils are voluntary organisations that act as a voice for their local area. They express the views and concerns of local people within their area across a wide range of issues from new buildings and roads to local sports and leisure facilities.

Community Councils also work to make positive changes in their local communities. Some Community Councils have worked to improve patient transport, dental services and care services as well as looking at ways to improve their environment for the good of the community and visitors to the area.

It’s important that a wide range of people are Community Councillors. If young people are on the Community Council, they might be better placed to express the priorities of younger people and make sure their community is a good place to live for all age groups.

Anyone can be a Community Councillor, provided they are aged 16 or over, are on the Electoral Register and live within the Community Council boundary. Becoming a Community Councillor is a great way to help represent and improve the community in which you live.

Candidates wishing to serve their local Community Councils can nominate themselves from Monday 21 September 2015. If the number of nominations exceeds the number of places on the Community Council then there will be an election ballot in that local area.

To be able to nominate themselves and to vote in the election 16 and 17 year olds must be registered on the supplementary register. Registration forms are available on the Highland Council website and are being distributed through secondary schools. 16 and 17 year olds that want to nominate themselves to be a Community Councillor must be registered by Wednesday 16 September. Young people that wish to register to vote have until Friday 2 October to submit their forms.

Nominations will open on Monday 21 September and close at 4pm on Tuesday 6 October.

The Highland Youth Convener, Kat Bateson said: “Community Councils are the strongest means of becoming involved within your local community. It will give you a solid understanding of what is going on locally and nationally and is also a very valuable personal experience. If the referendum last year sparked your political interest this is your next chance to get involved.”

Further information on nominations and the election is available on the Council website www.highland.gov.uk