Vicky Spratt | Deputy Editor | Thursday, 19 May 2016

Are You Going To Vote In The European Referendum?

Are You Going To Vote In The European Referendum?

The Debrief: Under 25s are twice as likely as any other age group not to be registered to vote.

At the moment Britain is a member of the European Union. However, after a vote which will take place on June 23rd that could all change. Why? The simple answer is that David Cameron promised that there would be a referendum on our membership as part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto before last May’s general election. Why? Basically, because many members of his party are Eurosceptics who have wanted to leave for a long time.

In this debate about whether or not Britain should leave Europe there is a great generational divide. Young people – millennials, generation y, the under 30s – are more likely to say they want this country stay in the EU than any other age group. This has lead to many people saying that the youth vote could be the key for the Remain campaign.

It’s hardly surprising that young people are less Eurosceptic than their parents’ or grandparents’ generations when you think about it. As budget airline ads like to remind us this is ‘generation EasyJet’, we’re used to moving about freely and cheaply within Europe – perhaps even having lived abroad in another European country for a period of time as part of our education (the Erasmus scheme, for instance, was founded in 1987) or work. We benefit from ‘free movement of people’, one of the founding principles of the Union, and this has become part of our ethos too – we’re also less worried about immigration than any other generation.

The most recent polling, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Bite the Ballot and Hope not Hate, found that while young people are twice as likely to vote to remain as they are to vote leave, only 51% are certain that they will actually vote at all.

It is this which has got pro-Europe politicians are worried. The youth vote could end up being the most important part of securing the future of Britain in the EU but young people are the least likely to turn out on polling day. Part of the problem which may lie ahead is that many people aren’t registered to vote, because of changes to the electoral register and also because they haven’t signed up. According to the Guardian an estimated 800,000 people have ‘dropped off the electoral register’, many of those are in student towns. 

The under 25 age group are the twice as likely as any other not to be on the electoral register as any other group, with almost 30% not registered. Of those in this age group who are registered only 54% turned out to vote in the 2015 general election.

The Government are doing all they can to target younger voters and try to get them to sign up to vote in the run up to the referendum, reportedly with promotions from David Cameron himself on Tinder. The Guardian also reports that there are collaborations in the works with Lad Bible, YouTube stars and Starbucks. Bite the Ballot are also planning to host a Leaders Live debate via Facebook.

However, when The Debrief asked readers recently about the European Referendum 96% said they are planning to vote. However, 19% of those who responded to our questions said while they were undecided about how to vote. Proving that young people in the UK are engaged with and passionate about politics, despite the generalised characterisation of us as apathetic and disinterested, and crucially that some of those votes are still to play for. 

It’s crucial that politicians seek new ways to engage with young voters and address the issues that affect our day-to-day lives. It’s equally crucial that we turn out to vote on June 23rd and make sure our voice is heard when it comes to the future of this country.

The deadline to register to vote in the EU referendum is June 7th. You can watch our guide on how to register in less than 2 minutes here.

You might also be interested in:

What Do Young Europeans Really Think About The EU Referendum

European Union: Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

David Cameron Is On Tinder And You'll Never Guess Why

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Tags: Politics