First time voters in South Ayrshire are asking local people if they're ready to vote in the Scottish Parliament election on Thursday 5 May – the first Scottish Parliament election where16 and 17 years olds are eligible to vote.
The young voters – from Ayr, Belmont and Queen Margaret Academies in Ayr – have all registered online to make sure they will be able to have their say in who represents them at the Scottish Parliament.
Registering to vote is easy – it only takes a few minutes and all you need is your National Insurance Number. Anyone wanting to vote in the Scottish Parliament election must be registered by Monday 18 April.
You can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or using the Ayrshire voter registration app, which is available for Android and Apple devices via the Play Store or App Store.
Helen McPhee, Electoral Registration Officer for Ayrshire, said: "We want to ensure all eligible voters have the chance to vote in the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May, and for the first time, that includes 16 and 17-year-olds.
"By using the app, or going on to the website, you can become a voter in just a few minutes – it really is that easy. And as voters are no longer registered automatically, it's really important to make sure you don't miss out.
"Even if you will be away on holiday, or unable to get along to the polling place on election day itself, you can still have your say by applying to vote by post or proxy – when someone else casts your vote on your behalf. So, what are you waiting for – register now!"
Calvin Finlayson (17) from Belmont Academy said: "It's really important young people make their views count, use their vote and make sure our voices are heard."
Francesca Davie (17) – also from Belmont – said: "The people who will be elected will be making decisions that affect us all, so please make sure you have your say."
Ayr Academy's Kai Green (17) – who is also a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Ayr – added: "Young people fought to get the right to vote, so don't let it go to waste. Our votes can make a difference."
Melissa Jamieson (17) from Queen Margaret Academy, said: "There are loads of places across the world where people don't have the right to vote, so we have a responsibility to make sure we take advantage of the opportunity to have our say."
Fellow Queen Margaret student Sam Chitty (17) concluded: "By giving young people the chance to vote from 16, it shows that our views matter and we do count. Our votes can help change attitudes and I'll certainly be making sure I vote on 5 May."
Eileen Howat, Returning Officer for the Ayr constituency, said: "It's great that Calvin, Francesca, Kai, Melissa and Sam have already registered to vote and are encouraging others to do the same. I hope all eligible voters across South Ayrshire take a leaf out of their book and register before 18 April."
Andy O'Neill, Head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland added: "It's not long now until the Scottish Parliament election and we don't want young people – or any voter – to miss out just because they aren't registered. Make sure you're #ReadyToVote and have your say on 5 May."
The Electoral Commission is also running a voter registration campaign – in conjunction with the National Union of Students in Scotland – asking people to use social media to inspire their friends to register to vote ahead of the Scottish Parliament election.
You can encourage your friends to register to vote by sharing photos of your 'voter cross' and using the hashtag #RegAFriend.
Find out more about voting in the Scottish Parliament election at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/scottish-election or www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. You can also contact the Electoral Registration Office on 01292 612221.