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Ruane urges young people to take up their right to vote

10 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has encouraged young people to register to vote.

The Minister was speaking at the launch of Electoral Registration Week 2008. This year, the Electoral Commission aims to boost the number of young people registering to vote through a "Schools Initiative". The initiative will see schools playing an active role in encouraging young people to become eligible to vote.

Speaking at Priory Integrated College in Holywood, the Minister said:

"It is a vital part of the democratic process that everyone should take the opportunity of registering to vote. Being on the electoral register is not about party politics; everyone who is eligible to vote should register and have their say on how we are governed.

"Young people are a vital part of the democratic process and need to ensure that their voices and concerns are heard. The Electoral Office's new Schools Initiative will help make young people aware of their right to vote and the benefits of being registered to vote.

"I myself have seen first hand the importance of democracy and voting. In 1994 I was an international observer in South Africa when the first free and fair elections where held. At that time millions of black people who had previously been denied the right to vote elected Nelson Mandela as President. Across the world there have been many campaigns and struggles to bring the right to vote to people and it is important this opportunity is not lost." ENDS

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