Scotland’s education sector has united to encourage students to ‘register, make a plan, and vote’ in record numbers in the upcoming general election.
Representatives from across Scottish education – NUS Scotland, Universities Scotland, EIS and the University and College Union (UCU) – have called upon all students to make their voices heard.
NUS Scotland’s ‘Got Five’ campaign has been working with the electoral commission to make sure every student throughout the country is registered by the 26th November deadline. Launching a resource hub, toolkit and campaign resources, NUS are encouraging all students’ associations to bring the campaign to their campus.
With the general election taking place as things begin to wind down for Christmas at colleges and universities, NUS Scotland is urging students to ensure they don’t lose their chance to vote. Students living away are eligible to vote at their home or term-time address. NUS Scotland are urging these students to make a plan for using their vote, i.e. thinking ahead of time about where they’ll be on 12 December, where they want to vote, and whether that means applying for a postal or proxy vote.
Commenting, NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe said:
“This general election comes at a critical juncture in our politics and represents a huge opportunity to transform student life in Scotland. We’re delighted to join with partner organisations to do just that.
“We can only make our voice heard if students get registered to vote. We need buy in from all students, colleges, universities and the wider community to ensure each and every student can exercise their democratic right.
“It only takes five minutes to register and we’re calling on all institutions to ensure this is clearly signposted and actively encouraged during classes.
“With polling day coinciding with the festive wind-down, it’s crucial that students register and make a plan. Students living away from home can vote at either at home or their term-time address on polling day. That means thinking ahead, making a plan of where they’re going to vote and coming out in their droves to make a change.
Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said:
“Universities have a role in promoting students’ civic engagement and encouraging them to participate in the democratic process is part of that. We believe in a healthy democracy which is why we’d hope as many students as possible register to vote.
“This could be the first time voting in an election for some students and many of them might not realise there’s a registration process. That’s why it’s important for institutions to provide clear guidance on voter registration, to enable students to fulfil their democratic right.”
Larry Flanagan, EIS General Secretary:
“Choosing how the country is governed is an important part of our democratic system, but if you are not registered, you can't vote!
“This election will shape the path that the country takes for many years to come and offers young people the chance to have a say and to demand a fair deal for their future.”
Mary Senior, UCU Scotland official, said:
“It’s essential that students’ voices are heard loudly by our politicians and in this general election.
“NUS’ work on voter registration is hugely important and we would encourage UCU members who are able to do so to support students registering to vote. It only takes minutes, can be done online and is the only way to guarantee politicians take the needs of students seriously.”