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7th March 2015

Government invests over £500000 into student voting

Plans to invest £530000 to encourage students to register to vote after many are thought to have dropped off the electoral register

A sum of £530000 is to be invested into a scheme devised to persuade students across the country to vote in the upcoming 2015 General Election.

£380000 of the money will go to the NUS who will use it to host a nationwide competition involving creating and promoting ideas to persuade students to register to vote.

The Students’ Unions of universities across the country will ask their students to team up and think of ideas that will be most effective in getting students to register to vote. The best idea will receive £10000 to fund their project.

The remaining £150000 will go to other organisations in the further education sector.

This news comes as a link was recently suggested between the newly introduced Individual Electoral Registration method (IER) in June 2014 and a drop in the aggregate registration rate in each constituency.

IER means that everyone wishing to vote in future elections will have to register individually rather than one person in each household registering on behalf of all the occupants of the household.

Previously, if students lived in student accommodation then their university would be able to register everyone living in halls of residence at once. However, since IER has been introduced, students have to register themselves individually regardless of whether they live in student accommodation or not.

Due to this, there are fears that students will be under-represented in the upcoming election.

Critics of this correlation have called it spurious as the initial data showing registration rates in each constituency was an aggregate and did not actually show how many students had fallen off the register.

However, a study conducted by contributors to the London School of Economics General Election blog found that there was a strong correlation between the proportion of students living in halls of residence in each constituency, and declining registration rates since the introduction of IER—suggesting that it has had an effect on students living in halls.

For details on this study, visit here.

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