Commitment to elections (1314P24)
Status: Active | Zone: External Engagement
Passed: 14/05/2014 |
This policy was discussed at the following meetings:
- Around 10% of the population of the United Kingdom are students, and over 13% of the population of Southampton are full-time students (with many more in part-time education) (1).
- Only about half of young people are registered to vote, whereas 94% of 65+ people are (2).
- In the 2010 general election only 65% of people voted (3).
- In the 2010 general election 29,991,471 people voted, however 45,597,461 were registered (4).
- The Daily Mirror predicts that only 40% of young people will vote in the 2015 General Election (5).
- Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is the voter registration system which will take effect from 10 June 2014 in England and Wales. Under the current system, one member of the household is required to register all residents of the household who are eligible. Under the new system individuals will be required to register themselves, as well as provide their national insurance number and date of birth on the application form so that their identity can be verified (6).
- All local, national and European elections (“public elections”) have a significant impact upon ‘students as students’, as well as ‘students as citizens’, through our wellbeing, welfare and quality of life.
- The University of Southampton, and its members, has a positive impact upon the city of Southampton (economically, socially and culturally)
- Students make up a sizeable proportion of the population both nationally and locally, meaning all publically elected bodies should take a particular interest in students.
- As a democratic organisation SUSU has a duty to promote wider involvement in politics outside of the union by promoting awareness and informing students about public elections.
- Every student has the right to vote and the Union should see it as their responsibility to make every vote an informed vote – the Union, as a democratic organisation and an active promoter of internal student democracy, has a duty to promote active and positive citizenship among the student population through the promotion of civic duties in the wider community.
- Students, as residents, have the right to a voice in the area they live in – both for themselves and for future student residents.
- Actively promoting local politics and increasing voting turnout amongst the Union’s members will increase the standard of living for all our members.
- SUSU should do more to tackle poor participation within the student population by encouraging and facilitating student voter turnout.
- SUSU should not tell students who to vote for, but should provide them with information about how and where to vote, about the different candidates and about why voting is important.
- Voter registration is transitioning to individual voter registration so it will take more effort to get people registered.
- To promote the importance of voting in public elections to the student body.
- To work to increase knowledge amongst students of the issues affecting them which are at stake in public elections.
- To promote non-partisan political activity through the encouragement of involvement in the democratic process.
- The VP Engagement and Union President to lobby the University and Council to work together to ensure data on students in halls is provided to the council to ease registration.
- The VP Engagement to run a campaign encouraging voter registration when there is an academic year with a public election.
- The VP Engagement to run a campaign to encourage voter turnout when there is an academic year with a public election.
- The VP Engagement to ensure that students are properly informed about public elections in which students can vote.
- The VP Engagement organise hustings and/or debates for each public election.
- The VP Engagement to ensure students are properly informed as to the locations of polling stations, and to ensure that SUSU provides transport for students from campus to their local polling station.
- The VP Engagement & VP Student Communities to educate international students about their right to vote in public elections, especially students from the EU.
- http://bitetheballot.co.uk/ (May 2014)