Why the student vote matters

Why the student vote matters

Throughout history and across the world, political movements made by students and young people have resulted in genuine political change and global coverage. With the EU Referendum right around the corner, it’s time to not only to consider if you want to remain in or exit the EU, but to contemplate why it’s important to vote at all.

Important student movements
From young people protesting African American segregation to students stopping tanks in Tiananmen Square, the social and political contribution made by students and young people across the world is vast. However, in the 2015 general election, only around 40-45% of young people aged 18-24 cast their vote.

Why do so few young people vote?
According to an article in The Guardian earlier this year, young adults are unlikely to vote due to “…lack of knowledge, the perception that all parties are the same, and the concern that no single party matches an individual’s specific list of concerns.”

There is no easy solution to combatting disengagement; communities, politicians and education providers obviously need to play a bigger role in motivating students and young people to head to the polling stations.

EU Referendum
With the upcoming election, the decision whether the UK should remain as part of the European Union or not is a complex issue. With voters having to consider topics such as migration, the economy, trade, education and much more, it is a complex decision. Members of the same political parties have come out fighting for different sides and even global leaders such as Barack Obama have commented on this election. So who is right? That’s up to you.

For a guide on the key arguments and what each side is saying about these issues, check out the BBC’s Referendum Issues Guide.

What does the NUS think?
As a result of last year’s National Conference, the National Union of Students, reflecting the wishes of 95% of their members, decided to back the ‘In’ campaign. Outlining the issues that matter to students including education and healthcare, NUS has been providing resources to support students looking to learn more about the election.

To access these resources, have a look at the NUS website.

Register to vote
Only those on the electoral roll can vote in elections. The deadline to register to vote is 7th June, which is fast approaching. For more information and to register please see the Gov.uk website.

There is plenty of free help and advice to help you understand the issues, including information provided by CUSU.