In an unpredictable political climate it’s really important that you register to vote and have the opportunity to have your voice heard.
You can vote in person, via the post or you can appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf, as long as you have met the deadline for postal and proxy votes.
If you’re not sure whether you’re registered, you can find out by getting in touch with your local authority. Enter your postcode to find your local electoral registration office, and contact them directly.
Undecided on whether or not to register? Here are just five of our top reasons to register to vote in the UK today:
1. It's your right to vote
People throughout history have given their lives to ensure that we have the right to vote today, we owe it to them to exercise this right.
In order to vote in a UK General Election you must:
be registered to vote
be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen*
be resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
not be legally excluded from voting
*If you’re an international student from a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland, you are eligible to register to vote in the UK. Brexit, immigration policies, visas and right to work guidelines are just some of the political issues that can impact on international students, so make sure your name is on the Electoral Register today.
Advice for International Students from the UPSU Advice Centre:
“In order to register to vote you’ll need a National Insurance (NI) number, if you’re an international student from the Commonwealth then you will not have had an NI number issued automatically. Use this link to apply for a NI number - make sure you use this link as there are lots of sites out there that charge and it is free to get.“
2. Your voice matters
Voting in a General Election not only decides who runs the country but who represents your local area as your MP. Your local MP can help you with problems around tax (involving HMRC), hospitals/NHS, benefits, national insurance, immigration and school closures/grants. Find your local MP here.
It doesn’t matter who you vote for or why, but if you’re not registered then you can’t vote.
3. Not enough people vote
In the last General Election in 2017 more people didn’t vote than those that did for the winning party. The argument that “there’s no point in voting for them because they won’t win” is disproved here, if all non-voters in the UK had headed to the ballot stations in June 2017 there would have been an additional 14.5 million votes cast.
The two age ranges with the lowest voter turn-out were 18 – 19 (57%) and 20 – 24 (59%), however, recent months have seen a surge in people registering to vote. At the start of September the BBC reported that “Nearly 200,000 people have applied to register to vote in just 72 hours, and more than half of them are under 35.”
Be a part of this surge and engage with this country’s democracy, have your voice heard and register to vote today.
4. Being registered to vote can improve your credit score.
If you want to rent, get a mobile contract, or sign up for a credit card, it really helps if you're on the electoral roll, which is basically a list of everyone who's registered to vote. In short, lenders will look at the electoral roll to verify who you are and where you’re living.
5. It’s really simple and takes less than 5 minutes.
Simply go to gov.uk/register-to-vote and have your National Insurance number and current address ready.
As a student, you can register to vote at both your home and term time address. If your home and university addresses are two different local authority areas, you can vote in local elections at both. However, if there is a general election, you’ll only be able to vote in one.