Never let your voice be silenced…..
There are many things I hear students talk about which frustrate or worry them. I hear concerns about housing, health care, mental health, public transport, the cost of living and education. I’ve spoken with students frustrated about Brexit, about the destruction of the planet and about the jobs market. I know that students have really strong views about equality and diversity, about education, taxation, about art and culture. Students are, despite accusations to the contrary, crying out to have their opinions and ideas heard, to be able to campaign and debate, to challenge authority, to question power and to be part of the critical decisions that affect their and future generations. I should also say that student views on these issues are not homogenous. York students, perhaps more even than students at other universities around the country, reflect a rich diversity of personal politics, cultures and beliefs and that is something York should be proud of. I want all of those voices to be heard.
That’s why I wanted to write this short blog. A blog that is a call for you to take the easy steps to register to vote and to cast your vote, in whatever way you choose, at the General Election scheduled for the 12th December. I want to make sure that you get to have your say on the future and your say on all the issues that you care about.
It’s your vote, your future, your right.
Step 1. Register
Step one is to register! Registration should take about 2 minutes and it’s really easy to do online. Just follow the simple guidelines.
Some of our international students can vote if they are a qualifying commonwealth citizen, so do make sure to check your eligibility.
If you have moved address since the last time you registered in York you will need to re-register! If you’re not sure if you’re registered at your current address, register again to make sure!
The deadline to register in order to be able to vote at this election is expected to be the 26th November, but why wait? Do it before it’s too late!
Step 2. Tell your mate
Tell your mate. When you are at the bar, in your common room, queuing for a lecture, waiting for a bus, just stop and ask the person next to you whether they have registered to vote. You are empowering those around you, sharing the responsibility, increasing the collective power of York students, so please pass it on. If everyone asks 10 more people to register we will have every student registered in no time at all.
Step 3. Work out where you will vote
You can register to vote at both your term time and home address (where these are in the UK). You can subsequently choose which of these locations you would like to vote at but you can only vote in one location. The election is on 12th December, the week after term 1 has finished, but you can still choose to vote in York if you want. You might be staying in York after term has ended, but if you’re not you can vote in York via postal vote by completing this online form after you have registered to vote as per step 1.
Alternatively you could arrange a ‘proxy vote’. A proxy vote means someone can vote on your behalf. You have to apply for a proxy vote at least 6 working days before an election day (so before 5th December). You can do so for a wide range of reasons including if you will be away, if you’re disabled, if you’re temporarily away overseas, if you’re at work etc. If you want to arrange a proxy vote you should complete the form here after you have registered to vote as per step 1.
Whoever you are, whatever your opinions might be, please make sure you are registered to vote so that you can have your say.
Samara Jones, YUSU President.