So a snap election was called last week by UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May and you’ve got a chance to voice your opinion, but only if you’re on the electoral register. In the UK, there are so many people who aren’t on the electoral register, don’t let it be you, especially as it doesn’t take long to register.
Who is eligible to register to vote?
- Anyone 16 or over in England/Wales (but cannot vote until 18) or anyone 14+ in Scotland (but cannot vote in local elections until 16 and cannot vote in UK or European elections until you are 18)
- Any UK, ROI or a qualifying commonwealth citizen
- A citizen of a European Union country living in the UK
- A citizen of the Channel Islands, The Isle of Man or British Overseas Territory living in the UK.
So why should you register?
- Because otherwise if you decide you want to vote in an election, you won’t be able to! (e.g county council elections in England- the deadline for registering to vote for this has passed)
- To express your opinion (even if that is just spoiling a ballot when you come to the polling station)
- It gives you the power to create change
- It influences politicians to work for all the people they are representing! Sometimes politicians will just focus on the mandate they were given by their party constituents and not on everyone; those who voted for them, those who didn’t vote for them and those who didn’t vote at all. So, by expressing your opinion and turning out on polling day, will mean they are more likely to consider your views and if more young people (18-24yr olds especially!) vote, then they will feel the need to represent them in some way through specific policies (e.g. living wage and tuition fees decreases)
- Movements like the Women’s Suffrage (the suffragettes) have campaigned to give you the right to vote and as a result, it is only fair that you exercise it, and respect this duty.
- Everyone cares about politics! (Yes, everyone!) because policies made in county councils, Parliaments, Devolved assemblies etc, will have an impact on your life. For example the minimum wage and zero hour contracts, may mean you don’t have a stable job and therefore it’s hard to pay your rent on time. Or maybe it’s tuition fees and you don’t like the Tories changing them, or it could simply be that you don’t want the implementation of Grammar Schools. Whatever it is, register to vote, so you will be able to vote in this general election for which ever party you support the policies of most.
If you’re not sure if you’re registered to vote, you’ll need to contact your local electoral registration office.
If you want to register, then you have to do so by the Monday 22nd May 2017 and you can do that here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
It will only take you 5 minutes to do, so please if haven’t done so already, go and register! You won’t regret it!