#ELLection: Our campaign to urge young people to vote

Young people are being urged to vote in the upcoming election Pic:Flickr

With only days to go until the general election, we at EastLondonLines believe it is vital to get young people voting and understanding what they are voting for.

Following the studio grilling of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn by Jeremy Paxman (Sunday May 29) on Channel 4 and Sky, a poll by YouGov suggest Labour doubled the lead over the Conservatives among voters under 25.

Despite this, only 57 per cent of young voters said they would vote, according to the poll.

We hope that the majority of young people in the ELL boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lewisham and Croydon have registered to vote, and plan to use their vote wisely.

Our message is: please vote.

In the run-up to the election on June 8, ELL is going to run a series of pieces on issues we think are important to young people: from healthcare to the environment, jobs to the NHS and university fees.

Voting behaviour research conducted by the Electoral Commission, indicates that young people are the most likely not to use their vote and therefore are leaving the decisions to the older people; majority of whom do not face the same issues the youth of today face or care about the issues that are more important to young adults. In the 2015 general election, turnout for people ages 18-24 was 43 per cent.

The population of the four ELL boroughs are:

Croydon – 381,000, 7.9 per cent of which are aged 18-24.

Hackney – 246,300, 8.8 per cent of which are aged 18-24.

Lewisham – 292,000, 9.2 per cent of which are aged 18-24.

Tower Hamlets – 297,800, 11.4 per cent of which are aged 18-24.

These figures collected from the London Data Store show that this age range accounts for a significant percentage of the boroughs’ populations and in order to get their voices heard, they must vote.

There was an influx of young people registering to vote after May called the snap election last month with almost 1.2 million of Brits between 18-24 signed up, again according to the Electoral Commission.

There are many organisations working and campaigning in order to get young people to vote. However because of the snap election, the organisations have been pushed for time, which has also had an impact on their funding.

Lucy Caldicott, Chief Executive of youth developing leadership organisation UpRising, who aim to open pathways to power for talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds, said: “We are in an environment where many charities are already working really hard to get our campaigns to encourage young people to vote and running but we are asking just how much of an impact we can make in such a short time.”

“There is a real risk of there being a democratic deficit in this election due to the lack of notice and short campaign. We will encourage all those young people we work with to take part by voting in June.”

Anti-fascism group Hope Not Hate is another organisation working under pressure at getting the youth to vote. Elisabeth Pop, voter registration campaign manager, said: “The big question at the snap general election is: who will decide Britain’s future? There is a real risk that students and certain other vulnerable groups will miss out on their chance of a voice.”

“Our research clearly shows that traditionally underrepresented communities and social groups – such as students and young people, ethnic minorities and renters – remain at risk of not having a say come 8 June.”

Bite the Ballot, an organisation primarily working at getting the youth vote promised “weeks worth of activities” to get the youth vote, and have partnered with high-profile companies to reach as many young people as possible.

Here at ELL over the days leading up to the election, we are reaching out to young voters, to educate them on parties’ policies and  to help the youth that are registered to understand what they are voting for.

Follow #ELLection to keep up with our campaign.

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