Edinburgh College students show 'X' marks the spot
Students in Edinburgh have joined the Council to encourage those studying in colleges and universities to make sure they’re registered to vote in the forthcoming UK Parliamentary General Election.
With just three weeks until the country goes to the polls, Edinburgh College students have shared why they think it’s important for people of all ages and backgrounds to have their say.
According to the Electoral Commission, one in three young people risk missing out on their opportunity to vote – national research shows that only 66% of 18 to 19-year olds are registered correctly compared to 94% of over-65s.
Anyone wanting to vote in the General Election on 12 December must make sure they’re registered to vote by Tuesday, 26 November and can do so online by visiting www.gov.uk/registertovote. People who think they may be registered but want to check should contact the Electoral Registration Office on 0131 344 2500. Those who can’t get to their local polling place on the day can also register for a postal or proxy vote.
Andrew Kerr, Returning Officer for Edinburgh, said: “With less than a week until voter registration closes it’s essential that anyone wishing to vote makes sure they are registered at the correct address so they can take part.
“We want everyone, whatever their age or background, to be able to participate in the democratic process. It’s great to see young people studying here in Edinburgh championing voter registration and I hope they inspire others to visit www.gov.uk/registertovote or to check with the Electoral Registration Officer to make sure their details are up to date.”
Edinburgh College Students’ Association president Carla Ford said: “It’s very important that as students we all register to vote. It’s our opportunity to have our say and vote for who we would like to run the country in the future. I would urge all eligible students, not just those at Edinburgh College, to make sure they get registered and play their part in shaping our country.”
Edinburgh College Principal Audrey Cumberford said: “I would encourage all of our students who are eligible to vote to make sure they are registered by next week’s deadline. It is vital that as members of the public we all play our part in the democratic process.”
Students who study away from home can register at both their term time and home address so they can choose which constituency they want to vote in, as long as they only vote once.
To vote in the UK Parliamentary Elections on 12 December, voters must be aged 18 or over and either a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen.
Voter registration closes at midnight on Tuesday 26 November. Anyone already registered for the European Election on 23 May does not need to re-register. However, anyone who has changed address since then needs to re-register to be able to vote in the UK Parliamentary Elections on 12 December. Poll Cards are due to be issued to all registered electors from 22 November.
Applications for postal votes must be submitted by 5pm on Tuesday, 26 November and applications to vote by proxy must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 4 December.
Find out more about where, when and how to vote.
Edinburgh College students
Kevin Jenkins, 20 years old: “I think it’s incredibly important to vote in all elections because if you don’t then your say’s not heard. I think it’s also important that we encourage all of our friends and family to realise that they have to vote.”
Lauren Scott, 19 years old: “There are so many posts online that are encouraging it [registering to vote], you just need to follow the links and the instructions. It’s all simple questions so it’s not difficult to do, it’s straightforward and there’s no reason not to. If you don’t vote then you can’t complain about what’s happening - it’s the number one way to get your voice heard.”
Rachel Nicholson, 20 years old: “I think it’s really important to vote because there are so many changes being made or changes that need to be made right now. If we start to vote and make our voice heard then the topics that we think are important will get discussed more.”