TONIGHT marks one of the more significant election milestones – the deadline for electors to register to vote on June 8. Unlike last year when MPs passed emergency legislation to extend the cut-off point after computers crashed, this option is not possible because Parliament is now dissolved.
Yet this matters. It gives people a say over the future governance of this country. And, contrary to the perception of those who believe their vote can’t make a difference because of the vagaries of Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system, new figures show that the Conservatives could win a majority of more than 100 seats if turnout between young and old voters mirrors the 2015 contest.
Two years ago, only four out of 10 people aged between 18 and 25 voters exercised their right to vote compared to three-quarters of all adults aged over 55. Yet, while this can be explained by the transient lifestyle led by students and younger people before they put down roots of their own, it does not excuse the tardiness of those who leave it to the last minute to register to vote – or don’t bother at all. There’s only so much that Governments, councils and political parties can do when it comes to civic responsibility – and the small matter of completing a simple form once a year.