Students at Leicester encouraged to register for EU referendum

The University and our Students’ Union have spearheaded campaigns to highlight the importance of students registering to vote for the EU referendum.

Since the start of the academic year, a range of initiatives have highlighted the importance of the referendum and for students to have their say.

These include facilitating registration in social areas of the Union, direct communications with students about the EU referendum vote, social media campaigns and letters being placed in every study bedroom in the University.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Students in Leicester, together with others up and down the country, could play a decisive role in the EU referendum on 23 June. The EU referendum is a once in a generation decision, so it is all the more vital that young people have their say. I would not want any of our students to lose out on their chance to vote because they were not registered or were registered to vote in the wrong place. It is why we are supporting the initiative by Universities UK, the NUS and others to urge everyone to register to vote by 7 June.”

The importance of Leicester’s work is highlighted by a new poll which shows that half of university students in the East Midlands do not know when the EU referendum is taking place.

The poll, conducted by YouthSight for Universities UK, reveals also that, while a high proportion of students from across the UK are interested in the outcome, many risk not being able to vote because they are not registered at the address where they will be on 23 June 2016, the date of the referendum.

Rachel Holland, President of our Students’ Union said: “Whatever decision is made on June 23rd, it is young people and students who are going to be affected the most. It is clear that a large number of young people have an interest in the results of the EU Referendum, which is encouraging, but if we want to ensure the outcome of the referendum is truly reflective of the UK’s opinion on the European Union it is vital that the almost 2 million students in the UK are registered to vote, and know where they’re going to be on the 23rd of June.

“The recent changes to voter registration have impacted those in HMOs and students halls the most, and it is key that if students are unsure whether they’re registered, then it’s better to be safe than sorry and re-register before June 7th at both their term-time and home addresses.”

Polls show that young people are much more likely to want to stay in Europe, whereas older people  - who are much more likely to vote - are more likely to want to leave. If young people don’t want this momentous decision taken for them, they need to register to vote so they can make their voice heard on 23 June.

If students aren’t sure which address they’ll be at, they can register at both their term-time and home address – although they can only vote once. If students aren’t sure where they’ll be at either location, if they will be on holiday or if they can’t get to their polling station for any reason,  they should consider registering for a postal or proxy vote.