#GenerationVote: the future is in our hands

Monday 08-05-2017 - 15:02

The 8 June General Election will soon be upon us. We must be the generation that votes.

On that day, millions of students from every part of the UK will head to their polling stations and exercise their democratic right to vote. This is a right that many across the world do not have, and is something that should be celebrated.

However as things stand, there are many students won’t be taking part. Some students will feel alienated by a political system that doesn’t appear to represent them. Others will simply not be registered in time, just like the thousands who dropped off the electoral register when the government abolished automatic registration in 2014.

The Electoral Commission reported in December 2015 that only 66 per cent of young people (18-24 year olds) were registered to vote. This contrasts with 96 per cent of over 65s. Although there has been a spike in registrations among young people since the announcement of the election, there will still be thousands left missing from the electoral roll. Reports show that student registration at some institutions is as low as 13 per cent.

Sadly, the consequences of this are all too real. Whether it’s the raising of tuition fees, removal of maintenance grants or scrapping of EMA, students have long felt on the rough end of the decisions by consecutive governments that have taken them for granted.

With your help, we can change that. We need to demonstrate the power of students when they stand up to be counted. We need show this government and the next, that we not stand idly by as our rights are trampled upon again and again.

That is why NUS is re-launching its #GenerationVote campaign: a campaign to amplify the voices of students so they cannot be ignored. Together, we can prove that students are a force to be reckoned with.

That is why NUS is embarking on what we hope will be the biggest voter registration drive in recent history. We will be working with students’ unions and other organisations to host events and activities up and down the UK, showing students not only how to vote, but why it is so important.

That’s why later this week we will be releasing the demands of our movement to the political parties, to set down a challenge to those politicians that would seek our vote.

We need each and everyone one of you to get involved. The deadline for voter registration is the 22 May. Our #GenerationVote hub contains everything you might need – resources, briefings, and toolsand tips for running your activities. If you need any support please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We have an opportunity to turn back the tide and positively engage in how our future will be shaped, to give a resounding answer to those that accuse our generation of apathy or worse.

It’s time to take back our future, and to do that we must be the generation that votes. The future is in our hands.

Malia Bouattia
NUS President


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