Your opinion counts!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll know that, at any moment, Britain could hold a General Election. However, what does that mean? And why is it so important to vote in it?
Voting is about your voice being heard, and by voting for your MP, you can help to make a real difference with resolving local issues, as well as national ones. Students together can have a real impact, it is, after all, our future, and through voting we have the power to create change. With a General Election, we can vote for the people that we want to represent us and our views, because OUR opinion matters!
So how easy is it to vote?
Well firstly, you need to make sure that you’re registered to vote, and the easiest way to do this is by clicking on www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, where the simple step-by-step instructions will take you through the process. Make sure that you have your passport and National Insurance number to hand!
What if you’re already registered at home?
If you’ve changed address, name or nationality, then you’ll need to re-register, but again this is very simple if you click on the same link.
I’m registered at home, but I live in Halls; do I need to change anything?
Yes. Unless you’re planning to go back home to vote, then you can apply to vote by post or by proxy. Once again, by clicking on the above link, you’ll be able to choose which is the best option for you.
What if I don’t agree with any of the political parties?
If you don’t agree with any of the parties, then you could still make a stand by “spoiling” your vote. Spoiled votes have to be counted and are a form of protest if enough people vote “None”. By showing those in power that you don’t agree with them, it can make them look at their policies again and change them. They are, after all, there to represent you! Protest votes can be a powerful tool if used correctly, check out www.votenone.org.uk/protest_votes_count.html for more information.
I’m an international student but I’m resident in the UK; am I eligible to vote?
It depends. If you’re a citizen of an eligible European Union Country then you can go on the Full Electoral Register, but you’ll only be eligible to vote in Local Elections. Commonwealth Citizens, including British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories must be resident in the UK and either have Leave to Remain or not require such leave. A full list is available on www.gov.uk/elections-in-the-uk.
With the Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitting that by calling an early election, a large number of students wouldn’t be registered to vote, surely that alone is enough to make us crash the system by making sure that we are heard?
Written by Louise Arias-Adams