October 24th, 2016

Students urged to sign up to vote before deadline

Students urged to sign up to vote before deadline Students urged to sign up to vote before deadline
Updated: 3:06 pm, May 07, 2015

STUDENTS could lose their right to vote unless they register in time for the upcoming election.

Previously, it was up to the head of the household to ensure everyone aged 18 or over was registered to vote by adding their name to a form sent every October.

But last June, Individual Electoral Registration (IER) was introduced – meaning voters must now register themselves and provide their national insurance number and date of birth so their identity can be verified.

Following the changeover, everyone on the old register was transferred to the new system and those whose identity could be matched with data held by the Department of Work and Pensions have remained on it.

But others – such as students and those who have recently moved – have been required to re-register or prove their identity to ensure they can vote.

The move to IER was designed to combat fraud but critics argued short-term renters and students would slip through the net.

And with a high student population in the area – owing to nearby Warwickshire College and Warwick University – council chiefs want to ensure everyone has the right to vote.

Under current legislation, students can register to vote in both the town where they are living as well as their hometown, however they can only vote in one of the two.

As it stands, just over 100,000 residents are eligible to vote in Warwick district – almost 89,000 of whom were automatically matched up to the new system.

But those who are yet to register and who have not been matched up are still being encouraged to sign up.

A spokeswoman for Warwick District Council said: “We have invested in a marketing campaign specifically targeting students in Warwick district to encourage them to make use of their right to vote.

“As well as a social media direct mail, billboard and bus advertising and posters our Elections Officers have been visiting local sixth forms, colleges and Warwick University to educate students on how they register themselves to vote.”

“Time is running out and we would encourage everyone who is not registered to do so by the closing date of April 20.”

Visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to register.