Gwynne backs drive to increase numbers of students registered to vote as report shows young people among the most underrepresented

studnet registrationLocal MP, Andrew Gwynne, has today called for more to be done in order to increase student voter registration as new figures released by the Electoral Commission show the numbers of students in Denton and Reddish has increased.

Statistics covering 2016 released by the Electoral Commission[1] did show that overall there was a substantial increase in those on the electoral register, including students, across the country following the sharp uptake in registration in the period leading up to the EU referendum. In Denton and Reddish alone the numbers of students have passed the 4000 mark for the first time.

Crucially however the Electoral Commission has again warned that young people are particularly under-represented on the electoral register, this follows a damning 2014 report[2] which showed that on average only 40.1% of students with a high mobility rate were registered to vote, versus 92.4% for people who have lived in the same residence for a period greater than 10 years.

The Electoral Commission also highlighted that people in younger age groups were significantly more likely to be left off of the register, often times because their university or higher education institution failed to assist in registering their student population.

Labour is now calling on the government to accept a House of Lords amendment put forward by Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Royall, which would require universities to offer students the opportunity to register to vote at the point of enrolment or re-registration as a student at their university.

The amendment is due to be voted on in the House of Commons before the Easter Recess.

Andrew Gwynne said:

 “I welcome the new figures showing that the number of people on the electoral roll in the Denton and Reddish constituency has increased by almost 1,500 compared to 2015.

 “However, we know that students are one of the most under-registered groups in the country. That’s why I am supporting Labour Students and their priority campaign, A Million More Voices, which looks to properly integrate university enrolment with voter registration.

 “This amendment presents a monumental opportunity to increase voter participation whilst enabling councils to make significant savings on the canvassing process, saving our local authorities valuable time and resources.

“Labour will do everything it can in Parliament to get this amendment passed when it returns to the Commons.”

Cat Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, said:

“This Tory Government is still not doing enough to ensure that young people are on the register, which is why the Lords voted in favour of a Labour motion to the Higher Education and Research Bill, requiring universities to give students the option to register to vote when they sign up at university.

“If the Tories are serious about making every voice matter they need to keep this sensible addition when the Bill comes back to the Commons.”

 [1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration/bulletins/electoralstatisticsforuk/2016

[2] http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/169889/Completeness-and-accuracy-of-the-2014-electoral-registers-in-Great-Britain.pdf

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