Can I Vote in the General Election?
When the EU referendum took place in 2016, a huge amount of the UK student population - who were eligible to - registered to vote. On the day however, the turnout to the polling station was far fewer; the consequences of which mean that millions of young people across the country were left disappointed at the leave result.
Could the vote have been different if more students had used their right to vote?
It’s too late to tell, however with Theresa May announcing a snap general election on June 8 2017, students now have a chance to have their say in how the country is run and who will deal with the Brexit negotiations.
Make your opinion count
The campaign trail is now on and will soon be in full swing – party campaigners will be trying their utmost to get the student vote, so make sure you read up on the party manifestos to see how each of them will affect the lives of students and their future. Make it count!
Whilst politics may not interest you on a day-to-day basis, it can have a huge impact on you now and in the future, so voting in an election (or a referendum) is the only way that the majority of students will get their voice heard.
Am I eligible to vote?
Students are eligible to vote if they are a British citizen and are aged 18 or over on the day of the vote. This includes British citizens who are living overseas and those born in Northern Ireland, as long as they have been registered to vote in the last 15 years.
Registering to vote
If you registered to vote in the EU referendum last year, then you may not need to re-register for this year’s general election. If you have moved back home however, you will need to register at your new property.
If you have not yet registered to vote, you can do so online at gov.uk/register-to-vote – you’ll need to do so by May 22 if you want to be able to vote in the general election.
If you are unsure whether or not you are registered, you can check with your local authority, who will be able to tell you if you are currently on the electoral roll or not.
You can find details of your local office by entering your postcode here.
I am a student living away from home – can I still vote?
Yes of course – as a student with a permanent home address and a term-time address elsewhere, you are legally entitled to be registered at both.
This means you can vote in either location – but not both, so pick wisely. Voting twice in an election is illegal, and you could end up with a hefty fine.
How do I vote?
By far the most common option is to simply turn up at your local polling station – the details of which should be given on the back of your polling card.
If you are unable to vote in person because you’re in the middle of exams or you’re out of the country, then there are two options:
With a postal vote, your local council will send you a ballot paper by post. This will be done in advance of June 8, but you’ll need to make sure you get it back a few days before the election to make sure it’s counted.
Alternatively, you can apply for a proxy vote. This means nominating someone you trust to vote on your behalf. As with postal voting, you’ll need to arrange this in advance of the election to make sure that you don’t miss out.
Written by Heather Collin, who works in Digital Communications at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.