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NUS launches biggest student voter registration drive

Tuesday 09-05-2017 - 09:55

This week, we’re launching our #GenerationVote campaign, a month ahead of the general election. We will be working with local students’ unions across the country to make this the biggest student voter registration drive in our organisation’s history.

Voter registration among 18-24-year-olds has been falling steadily since the seventies, with recent government reforms such as the introduction of individual voter registration (2014-15) resulting in even more students falling off the electoral register.

However, the number of young voters leapt up by 20 per cent between the 2015 general election and the EU referendum.

With 750,000 18 year-olds who were too young to have their say in the referendum now able to vote, young people will see the general election as an opportunity to make their voices heard on Brexit. NUS will be working to ensure that Brexit isa catalyst that brings young voters back to the polls.

“There are millions of students in further and higher education in the UK. At our best we are a force to be reckoned with, and one that the politicians cannot ignore.

“However student voices are not always listened to. Since 2010 students have seen bursaries, grants and EMA cut, college funding slashed and tuition fees tripled.

“Since Brexit, there has been a toxic atmosphere of growing racism, followed by a sharp rise in hate crime. This has led to uncertainty and fear amongst our international students, who form an essential part of our vibrant campus communities.

“It is time for students to refuse to let yet another government trample over our rights and alienate our generation from the political process. We must be the generation that votes.”

-Malia Bouattia, NUS President


NUS will be working with organisation across the sector to help students navigate the registration process.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “The decisions made by the next Government will be relevant to all young people as well as staff in further education colleges and for the country. Voting is an important part of our democracy, and it is important to encourage everyone to have their voices heard. Colleges are well-placed to help students and staff register to vote and as forums for local politicians to set out their manifestos.”

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Over the next two weeks universities will be scaling up their efforts to encourage students to register before the 22 May deadline. We have produced a 10-step guide with suggested activities for universities to ensure students have all the necessary information to make sure they can take part in the democratic process. We will be encouraging university leaders to work with students’ unions to get the message out across campuses nationwide.”

It's vital that students are able to make their voices heard anditonly takes five minutes.

Register by Monday 22 May to vote in the General Election on Thursday 8June.

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