University encourages voter registration ahead of election

After months of Brexit negotiation, the UK is set to head to the ballot box again this December for a general election.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, finally succeeded in his calls for an early general election last week with Brexit once again hitting a stalemate.

The first election debate is set to take place on 19 November, between Johnson and Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The debate is set to air on ITV and has already been widely criticised for its lack of representation of other parties.

ITV is set to host a live interview-based programme to allow other parties to comment on the debate afterwards in which the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Green Party, and the Brexit Party will all be represented. A later multi-party debate is expected to also include Plaid Cymru.

As students, an important factor in the general election process is registering to vote. Whilst it is a simple process and can be done online, many often forget. If an individual is not registered to vote by the 26th November, they will be unable to vote in the general election.

The Guardian has reported a large surge in the number of young people (under 25s) registering to vote since the election was called last Wednesday.

Our own university has begun to push a campaign, encouraging students to engage and vote.

The University of Edinburgh’s Students’ Association President, Andrew Wilson, told The Student: “We have been running a Register to Vote campaign for a few weeks now, and we have received some really positive numbers from the Electoral Registration Office which indicate the number of registrations in student dominated areas of the city, and number of people registering at more than one address – both excellent indicators of students registering to vote – have increased substantially since we have begun our campaign.

“We will continue to be out and about across all campuses giving people the opportunity to register in person, and we will be pushing the message to register by 26 November on all our channels.

“It’s been really exciting to see so many young people  engaging with politics. This election will be a defining moment in our collective futures, so I urge anyone who hasn’t yet register to get online and do so.”

A spokesperson for the university also told The Student that in the event of a General Election, they would be communicating voter registration information to all students.

Willie Sullivan, a senior director at the Electoral Reform Society, told The Guardian that 9.4 million people are still missing from the electoral roll with large disproportions between different social and economic groups who register to vote.

He claimed, “There’s a long way to go before we close the registration gap.”

As well as resources put out by the university, the official government website holds useful information to those with queries about whether or how they can vote in the upcoming election.

 

Image: secretlondon123 via Flickr

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