Monday 16-05-2016 - 09:00
Thursday 5 May saw thousands of students turn out to vote and have their say in elections. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland students decided who they want to represent them nationally, while in England students had their say in local council, Police Crime Commissioner and mayoral elections, including electing London’s first son-of-a-bus driver Muslim mayor. But it’s not time to take our foot off the voter reg drive pedal just yet!
Once in a lifetime
We have less than a month now to ensure that students are ready to make their mark in a truly once-in-a-lifetime vote. Tuesday 7 June is the deadline for to register to vote in the EU referendum, which takes place on Thursday 23 June. For the first time in more than 40 years, we’ll have the opportunity to have a say on whether we should remain in the European Union. In this referendum every single vote really does count, and students could play a decisive role in whether we stay in or out.
NUS is campaigning to remain in the EU. You can find more information and resources here. Whether you just want to drive turnout or campaign for an In (or Out) vote, let’s make sure the student voice is too powerful to be ignored in this referendum!
Are your students #readytovote?
This week, NUS, along with various other organisations including Universities UK, Association of Colleges, Bite The Ballot, Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office are taking part in a huge #readytovote voter registration push to ensure that students don’t miss out on this vital opportunity to shape the Europe they want to see. On Wednesday 18 May vice chancellors and principals will be encouraging staff to talk to students about registering to vote. You can also liaise with your local UCU reps to organise voter reg lecture shout outs and registration stations together. You can register at https://www.gov.uk/performance/register-to-vote.. Also check out our EU Ref hub to see examples of what SUs such as Royal Holloway SU, Liverpool Hope SU and Barrow VIth form students are doing to encourage registration and debate ahead of the big day.
Location, location, location.
Many students may well have moved away, or plan to move away from the address they were living at since they last voted – even if that was on Thursday 5 May. These students should register again in order to ensure they can vote in the referendum. If they will be on holiday/ at Glastonbury/ are unsure where they’ll be on Thrsday 23 June, they can register at both addresses, but can only vote once in the referendum (remember, it is an offence to vote twice). Alternatively, once registered they can apply for a postal vote by 5pm on 8 June, or for a proxy vote by 5pm on Wednesday 15 June.
National Insurance numbers
This can often be a stumbling block for students wanting to register as they don’t know their NI. This needn’t be the case. They can call 0300 200 3502 or visit gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number ASAP to be sent their number by Tuesday 7 June.
Spread the word
Once registered, students can also download the #GenerationEUvote twibbon to show their friends they’ve done so and encourage them to do the same.