Posted on: Tuesday 22 February 2022
Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Mason Jones has thrown his weight behind a campaign to encourage young people to register for this year's local elections.
It's the first time 16 and 17-year-olds have been able to vote in the elections in May, which will select councillors for Torfaen County Borough Council and community councils.
Mason, from Blaenavon, who competes in the UFC mixed martial arts lightweight division, is urging young people to get registered and vote.
Speaking in a message on social media, he said: "It's important to register to vote, have your say and to choose who represents you in your local area.
"Make sure to have a look at their manifestos because it gives you an idea of their proposals and what they are aiming to do, and you can decide if you agree with them."
The 26-year-old is one of a number of young people featured in a film by Torfaen Council which has been sent to schools across the borough as part of the council's awareness-raising campaign. You can watch the video here.
Electoral participation officer Katie Jenkins said: "We're so pleased Mason is helping to get such an important message across to his many fans.
"Research shows that if young people take an active interest in democracy, they are more likely to continue doing so as adults, which is great for their future as well as ours.
"Registering to vote also has other benefits as well. It can improve your credit score which can help in getting a new phone contract, applying for a mortgage or renting a property."
Young people from the age of 16 were able to vote for the first time in the Senedd elections last year, following a change in the law which also allows qualifying foreign nationals to vote in elections in Wales, and for young people aged 14 to register.
Anyone who wishes to vote in the local elections on Thursday 5 May must be registered on the electoral register by Thursday 14 April. You can sign up via www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If you are unsure if you are registered, keep an eye out for your Household Notice Letter which gives the details of everyone registered to vote at your property. Alternatively, you can contact our elections team on email@example.com.
There are a number of ways to vote in this year's local elections. For more information, visit our website.
To see Mason's message to young people, follow Torfaen Council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and search for the hashtag #TorfaenLocalElections2022 or #useyourviews.