On Wednesday 19th April, the House of Commons passed legislation that means the UK will be having a General Election on the 8th June 2017. This means the election that was meant to be held in 2020 will now be held on 8th June 2017, and here’s everything you need to know for you to be able to get the most of out it.
What is a General Election?
A general election is the biggest democratic exercise that we can do in the UK. It allows the public to elect new MPs to sit in the House of Commons, which is the UK’s sovereign decision-making body. MPs decide on almost all aspects of our lives, so it’s important that you read up on each party and decide how they can help or hinder you.
Who can vote?
Anyone who is over over 18, providing you are on the electoral register, (with a few exceptions) is able to vote in a General Election. Those who are not British citizens, or are currently serving time in prison, are unable to vote. If you are Irish or a citizen of a qualifying Commonwealth country you CAN vote as long as you are registered. For more information on who is eligible to vote visit: https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/can-i-vote/who-can-register-to-vote
What is the electoral register?
The electoral register is simply a list of people who have signed up to vote in elections in the UK. The register is opt-in, so if you want to vote, you need to register to do so. To do this, all you need to do is head to gov.uk/register-to-vote and pop in a few details. It takes less than 5 minutes and alll you need is your name, address and national insurance number. You are able to register in more than one location (you can use both uni and home addresses) but only vote in one of those. At Sunderland SU, we really want you to register to vote. Politicians write policy based on who they think will vote for them, so the more students that appear on the register, the more likely you are to get the stuff you want!
The deadline for registering for this election is midnight on Monday 22nd May.
When and how do I vote?
The general election takes place on Thursday 8th June between 7am and 10pm. You will be assigned a polling station before the election when you receive your polling card in the post. To vote, you simply turn up, give them your name and they will hand you a ballot paper. You then go into a booth, pop your cross into a box next to your preferred candidate, then you fold it up and place it in the sealed ballot box.
How do I know who to vote for?
That is something that is entirely up to you. You should vote for the person or parties that closest reflect your own views. There is plenty of content online to help you form your own opinion about how to vote. Click the party logos below to read up about the 5 main political parties in the UK. You can also take an online quiz which will match up your opinions with the policies of the different political parties and tell you who you most closely match with.
Why should I vote?
Because students and young people are often shut out of national decision making and they get stuck in a loop. Students don’t vote because politicians don’t listen, and politicians don’t listen because students don’t vote. You can be the generation that breaks the loop, and begins to deliver real change for students, simply by voting. In the last general election, only 36% of young people voted. Imagine what could happen if that figure was higher.
Register, Vote and Make a difference.
Here's the link to register to vote to save you scrolling all the way back up the page: gov.uk/register-to-vote