No vote, no say
It’s now less than three weeks until the General Election which, according to the politicians and the media, could shape the country for a generation. So it’s important to make sure you can have your say. A couple of years ago a new electoral system was brought in – ‘Individual Electoral Registration’. The system changes so each individual has to register to vote, rather than the previous ‘head of the household’. What this means is that young people in particular are missing out on their opportunity to vote in elections. Research by the Electoral Commission suggests that just 67% of 18 to 24-year-olds are registered to vote, leaving a third (33%) unregistered. This is compared to just 5% of those aged over 55 not on the electoral roll. We want to make sure more young people are registered. Registering is simple – it takes about five minutes to complete and you only need your address and National Insurance number. Simply go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and follow the instructions. If you’ve already registered, encourage others to do it too. General Elections don’t come around very often. But when they do, they give everyone the opportunity to have their say and vote on the issues that affect them. And it is critical that students have their say. So here’s my message to students: Politics affects every part of your life, from health to education, voting is your opportunity to have your say. It is your choice whether to vote and who to vote, for but if you don't register, that choice has gone. If young people are not registered to vote, it reinforces the misguided opinion that young people are not interested in politics, making it easier for politicians to ignore you. No vote, no say…register now! Andrea Jones is the Head of Communications and Membership at the Association of Colleges.