Why should you register to vote?

An image of someone voting, they are putting their voting care into a box

Registering to vote and taking part in elections, is incredibly important. Any individual above the age of 18 can vote, making University the perfect opportunity to register and exercise your right to vote.

How to register

Registering to vote before you vote is a legal requirement, and you can find out exactly how to do so on the GOV.UK official website. You’ll be able to find out information on how to register either online or via paper form and you can also find out about the upcoming elections, it’s a great place to stay informed and up to date with what is happening.

Why You Should Vote?

Politics is now more essential than ever, with parties in the UK having widely opposing views and stances on different topics and affairs. These decisions, policies and ideas have a significant impact on your future, being that we are the generation that will be most affected by any current changes. A general election must be held at least every 5 years, although the Prime Minister can choose to set the date for an election earlier.

However, general elections are not the only ones you can vote in, local elections are a great way to have your voice heard and participate in decisions in your local area. If you’re registered at your home address with local authorities, you can also register with your University address. Being registered at both your home address and term or semester address doesn’t necessarily mean you get two votes. You will need to chose one address and vote in only that area when voting in this coming UK Parliament elections. Read more information from The Electoral Commission.

After you have registered to vote on the GOV.UK website, you should find out where you stand in terms of which party you best stand with. It’s important to read up on the different parties if you are unsure of what they mean, and see which ideas and thoughts you best ally with. You should also check out the views of your local candidates to find their positions, and in terms of local elections, personal views can be very important and distinctive. You may be aware and have experienced occasions candidates and party members have handed out leaflets in your local area during times of elections to provide information and inspire you to vote for them. Furthermore, this is a good way to get to know local candidates and hear their opinions.

As all of the decisions made by governments, both on a national and local scale, will impact your future and the world around you your voice and opinion matter more than ever. Having a greater proportion of our generation confidently and actively taking part in elections by voting, and informing themselves to make educated decisions, benefits us all and ensures that we have a system and government that we stand with.

Many people in the past have been denied their right to vote (such as in 1918 women gained the ability to vote), and still are around the world, therefore making it all the more important to exercise your right and make informed decisions.

How to vote

In terms of how to vote, before elections you will receive a polling card in the post, which will indicate where this election will take place and where your local polling station is. You will need photo ID to be able to vote (such as a passport or driving license). You’ll give your name, ID and address to a member of staff, and they will cross off your name and hand you a ballot paper, which you take into a booth to make your vote. Don’t worry there will be instructions on the ballot paper. Once you’ve made your vote, you fold it your paper and put into the voting box. If you want to vote by post (e.g. if you are away from home or on holiday), you must apply for this ahead of time.

It’s really important to register to vote to exercise your right and help create a better future. Although you may think one vote won’t make a difference, it is the aggregate of all these votes that advocates for change. The wider the proportion of our generation and young people voting, the better the changes we can help shape the decisions that will be impactful during our lifetime.

For more information about registering to vote, visit the Government website.

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