Youth campaigners and EU citizen groups are worried that millions of potential voters could be excluded. Here's how to register.
Brexit campaigners have launched a huge registration drive amid fears young people and EU citizens will be excluded from the European elections in May.
One campaign – launched on Thursday – is led by young people from across the political spectrum. ‘Vote for Your Future’ seeks to ensure young people aren’t left without a vote.
It comes as campaign groups ramp up calls to ensure the three million EU citizens in the UK register to vote.
People have until the 7th May to register to vote in the EU elections. But while the process is simple for UK citizens, it’s more complicated for non-UK citizens. They have to fill out two forms – one online, and then one printed and sent it to their local council.
Campaigners warn the burdensome process could put many off from registering – skewing the result of the European elections.
‘3million’ – a group which represents EU citizens in the UK, says: “We urge all EU citizens in the UK to register and use your right to vote in the local elections on 2 May and European Parliament elections on 23-26 May. You may lose both of these rights after Brexit – so use your vote while you have it.”
Vote for Your Future are arguing today that: “Every election is determined by the people who show up”.
Celebrities including Gary Lineker, James O’Brien, Nish Kumar, Konnie Huq, and Gabby Logan are supporting the campaign – one of the first youth turnout campaigns run by young people, for young people.
At present, one in three young people are not registered – compared to 96% of over-65s who are on the register. There are around nine million people aged between 18 and 30 in the UK, meaning that millions of potential voters may find themselves disenfranchised, if no action is taken.
It is backed by young people on both sides of the debate. Ellie Varley, a prominent young Brexiter says:
“No matter how we vote on 23rd May, it’s critically important young people get registered and turn out in this year’s European Elections.”
“I strongly support leaving the European Union – as do lots of young people across the United Kingdom. It’s important all young people’s voices are heard, and that’s why Vote For Your Future are urging as many young people as possible to register to vote, and turn out in the European Elections.”
Shakira Martin, President of the National Union of Students says:
“There is a myth that this country is irredeemably divided. Vote For Your Future is a shining example of young people from all sides of the Brexit debate coming together in support of youth voice and being an active part of our democracy.”
“This year’s European Elections are critically important, and no matter if you’re a Remainer or a Leaver, we urge all young people to register, and vote on 23rd May.”
Roger Casale from New Europeans said:
“Despite assurances by the Electoral Commission that it would simplify the procedure to register to vote in the European elections in the UK, its clear that many EU27 citizens face being turned away again at polling stations on 23 May 2019 just as they were in 2014.
“It is not too late to mobilise the participation of EU27 citizens in European elections in the UK but we call on MPs, political parties, MEP candidates, councils, and all civil society actors to work together to achieve this.”
Susanne Kendler, head of voter registration organisation LetmevoteUK, said the registration process was “confusing”, but urged EU citizens to ensure they had a say.
UK citizens can register to vote in five minutes online here.
Here’s how EU citizens can register to vote in the European elections:
Step 1: Register to vote by May 7th. Step 2: Download and fill in the European Parliament voter registration form. Step 3: Send the form to your local Electoral Registration Office by May 7th. Find the address here.
The Electoral Commission said they would seek to simplify the process…after the elections.
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.
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