Could an end-of-year ballot hit student turnout?
Student leaders have warned that a December election could ‘significantly’ decrease youth and student turnout.
Jeremy Corbyn MP told ITV’s This Morning that one of the reasons that a December election was “odd” was because “it’s after many universities end their terms for Christmas.”
12 out of 15 universities LFF looked at finish their autumn terms on December 13th or 14th – with many students likely to start heading home that week. Many others will be in the middle of exam season. There’s likely to be confusion about whether students should be registered at their ‘home’ address or where they’re studying.
Student representatives say they fear the date is an attempt to “ensure certain groups can’t vote.”
A few months ago a Number 10 source briefed that a September election date was being planned specifically before students had the opportunity to register to vote at their new addresses.
Sasha Langeveldt, President of Kent University Students’ Union and a supporter of the pro-People’s Vote ‘Four our Future’s Sake’ campaign, said:
“A December election would severely hinder student voter turnout. In Canterbury, many students played a crucial role in the 2017 General Election campaign which changed the course of history here.
“A vote in December, whilst many students are finishing deadlines or preparing to go home for the winter break, will undeniably stop students from having their voices heard.”
Eve Alcock, President of Bath University Students’ Union and FFS Supporter said:
“There can be very few reasons for a December election – as we know it is difficult for a multitude of reasons – except to ensure that certain groups can’t vote.
“Boris Johnson knows that young people and students do not buy into his Hard Brexit vision for the future of the country, and he’s rightly afraid of our judgement on his bad Brexit Deal.
“Johnson should give young people a say on Brexit with a People’s Vote, and pick a time where we can have our voices heard.”
Fears have been raised over the first December election in 100 years, from cold weather putting off voters to polling station venues already being booked up through nativity plays.
. Electoral administrators have warned that there polling cards for an early December election would need to be sent out in November – yet a new electoral register comes into force on December 1st. That means some people could see their polling cards sent to the wrong address.
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.
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