How to get young people to the polls

young people at a poltical rally

With a general election on the cards, the Labour party are pushing campaigns to get young people to vote.

by Eliza Laben

According to YouGov, around 60% of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote in 2017, a significant increase from 44% in 2010. Although this is a positive rise in figures, that’s still around 5.7 million young people who didn’t vote.

Why are young people not turning out to vote?

One of the largest areas in which voter registration is being pushed is amongst students, who find they can’t vote when they get to university as they are still registered at home.

If elections are held in university term times it becomes more complicated for students to vote, especially when in the first few months of moving they may find they don’t have enough time to register at their new address.

It has now been made possible for students to be registered both at home and their university address, making voting easier and more accessible.

Over a million people have registered to vote since Boris Johnson announced a potential snap election, and between 2nd-3rd September over 30,000 under 25s registered to vote, according to government figures.

How would young people vote if they did turnout?

A huge push from the Labour party in recent years, to aim their message at young people in Britain, has had a massive effect on the way young voters are leaning.

Research into the 2017 general election shows that the majority of young people voted for Labour. According to YouGov, over 60% of votes from under 30’s were for the Labour party.

Fabian Newton, Constituency Labour Party Youth Co-ordinator said: “I want to get as many young people involved in local Labour as possible, both for CLP/Branch meetings and out on the streets during an election campaign.”

“Even though youth participation has definitely increased, it doesn’t necessarily translate to young members going to monthly Labour meetings – I’m regularly the youngest person at a branch meeting by about 10 years.”

How can we encourage young people to vote?

Campaigners such as Youth Parliament are continuing to push young people to register and become more involved in political debate. Youth Labour aim to represent young members at a local level and ensure that the Labour party engage with issues that matter to young Labour party members.

“Young people are getting involved in politics now, but very much on the climate side of things. So our challenge is basically convincing climate strikers to join the only political party that will realistically implement what they want”, added Fabian Newton.

Government figures show that increasingly more young people are signing up to vote, with around 5,000-15,000 registering daily, compared to the 1,000-2,000 over 65s.

In the month of August, 164,400 under 25s registered to vote, due to a massive push since the chances of a snap general election became likely.

So there has already been a significant rise in young voters, but is it enough to make a difference?

It is still important to target campaigns at young people in order to keep them interested and see that their views are being heard.

The Labour party are already making a statement that they stand for what young voters believe in, and it has proven effective due to the high number of young people registering to vote.

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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