Voting in the EU Referendum

Why vote?

Voting is the way we choose those who represent us and make decisions on our behalf, and how we hold them to account for those decisions. This guide has been developed to explain why it is important that you use your vote as a LGBT young person and also show you the steps involved in making your vote count.

LGBT NYC – our history, our vision

The LGBT National Youth Council (LGBT NYC) first began in 2003 and brings together young people from across Scotland, to address the issues affecting all LGBT young people.

Why young people should vote in the EU Referendum

It’s really important that as many young people as possible register and use their vote. Only by voting and lobbying for change, can we hope to make lasting and positive change on the lives of young people. We understand though that some young people may not think there is any point in voting, or are just not interested. So, we’ve pulled together important reasons why YOU should vote!

What is a referendum and what does it mean?

A referendum asks you to vote on a question.

For this referendum the question is:

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

What is the European Union?

The European Union, often known as the EU was first founded in 1993. It is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War Two with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. It has since developed to become a "single market" allowing goods and people to move around as if all the member states are one country. It has its own currency, the Euro, which is used by 19 of the member countries. It also has its own Parliament. It also sets rules in a wide range of areas - including the environment, transport and consumer rights.

Who is eligible to vote in this referendum?

You can vote in this referendum if you are registered to vote in the UK, are 18 or over on 23 June 2016 and are:

  • A British or Irish citizen living in the UK, or
  • A Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK
  • A British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years
  • An Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years

If you are an EU citizen from a country other than the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth, you are not eligible to vote in the EU Referendum, unless you meet the criteria above.

The difference you can make!

The last EU Referendum in Britain happened in 1975.  That’s over 40 years ago!! Don’t miss your chance to vote in this referendum.  

It’s your opportunity to have a say in how your future pans out. No matter what side you agree with, the results of this referendum will have an impact on your travel opportunities, education, job prospects, and finances. Furthermore, it also gives you a chance to make your mark in history. Whatever the result, the outcome will be a historical moment.

Why this issue matters for young people?

When the Scottish Youth Parliament asked young people as part of their manifesto for 2016-2021 “(if) Scotland should remain in the European Union?” nearly a quarter of those asked were unsure (23%). With 72,744 young people responding to the manifesto consultation, this is quite a high proportion of those who are unsure of how or even if they might vote (of those who are eligible to).

If you are able to vote in this referendum, it’s important that get yourself up to date on both sides of the debate so that you can make an informed decision that meets your needs.

You can find out more about the issues by doing some research online. Listen to what they are saying, think critically about the points they are making and decide which side is saying what you most agree to finalise your vote. The BBC has a guide to the referendum here:


What To Expect When Voting On The Day  

Polling Card

If you are on the electoral register you will be sent a POLLING CARD just before the election. This tells you where, when and how to vote.

Heading to Vote

On the day of the election, you need to go to the POLLING STATION. This will be somewhere near where you live, usually a school or local hall and the address of where it is will be on your polling card. There will be staff in the polling station when you get there, they will ask for your name and address to check you are on the register. 

Staff at the polling station will give you your BALLOT PAPER

Take your ballot paper into the POLLING BOOTH, so that no one can see how you vote. Depending on the referendum question, there are different ways of voting. In the booth there will be instructions on how to mark your ballot paper, or staff in the polling station can help. There should be two options for you to choose from either ‘Remain in the EU’ or ‘Leave the EU’. Ensure you mark an ‘X’ in the box of the option that you most agree with.   Also, make sure you don’t write anything else on your ballot paper or your vote may not be counted. Fold your ballot paper in half and then put it in the BALLOT BOX. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask staff at the polling station.

When the voting is over all the votes across the country are counted. Scotland’s answer to the referendum question will then be finalised. Results of the referendum will be announced on the radio, on the television, online or in the newspapers.

Useful Links

  • Scottish Youth Parliament –


  • Electoral Roll