ELECTORAL registration officer, Simon Hill as well as members of the Harlow Council Electoral Team visited Harlow College to help encourage young students to register for the upcoming General Election.
Emphasising the importance of voting in a democratic society Mr Hill commented “The youth vote really has the power to affect the overall outcome; how many 18 to 25-year-olds do you think there are in Harlow?”
Despite this enthusiasm however, statistics on voter registration seem unwavering. According to the Electoral Commission website in 2001, only 39% of eighteen to twenty-four year olds voted. However In the 2015 and 2017 elections the British Election Survey shows this percentage seemed to stay between 40-50%, compared to the over- sixty demographic where around 80% of the population came out to vote.
The electoral team admitted they had little luck in attracting the interest of students with many simply walking past and ignoring them.
The Electoral team warned however that registering to vote isn’t just about voting. It is in fact illegal not to register, although this law is hardly enforced, there are in fact more important issues when failing to register. For example, without this official government data it can be harder to get a mobile phone contract and non-registered customers will usually find themselves paying higher prices than those who are registered. It can also affect your credit rating making it very difficult to apply for a credit card.
Regardless, of the fact that registration has become far easier in recent years, many young people still fail to register and lose out on their chance to elect the representatives they want to see in government. Without the knowledge of the consequences this can have not just politically but also financially, there is still more work to be done to inspire the young to head for the ballot box.