by Tim Lezard Four million young people are not registered to vote, according to a new analysis by the TUC. With polls suggesting that next year’s general election is too close to call, the TUC is today publishing new analysis showing that there are ov …

Tim Lezard UK, Young people

vote ballotby Tim Lezard

Four million young people are not registered to vote, according to a new analysis by the TUC.

With polls suggesting that next year’s general election is too close to call, the TUC is today publishing new analysis showing that there are over four million ‘missing votes’ from people under the age of 35.

The analysis – launched during the TUC’s Young Workers’ Month – finds that in the 2010 election just 33 per cent of 18-34 year olds voted, compared to 64 per cent of those aged 35 years and older.

The number of ‘missing votes’ from young people needed to match the voting rate for those over 35 is more than four million, according to the TUC analysis.

The analysis finds that the average number of young people’s ‘missing votes’ per constituency is in excess of 11,000. This is more than the average constituency majority in 2010 of around 8,000 votes – suggesting that if more young people were to register and vote they could play a decisive role in the outcome of next year’s election.

The TUC and Bite the Ballot – a not-for-profit organisation campaigning to empower young voters – are today launching Register Your Workplace, a ‘how to’ guide for union reps aimed at increasing voter registration amongst young people. The guide includes information and practical ideas for engaging, educating and registering young people at work.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Young people have had a rough ride – first from the recession and now as a result of the austerity that followed. As long as young people are less likely to vote than older generations, politicians will continue to see them as an easy target for austerity and carry on ignoring their problems like high rents, rogue landlords, youth unemployment and low pay.”

Chair of the TUC Young Workers’ Forum Fern McCaffrey said: “If more young people decide to use the ballot box, we could bring about a political earthquake. If younger voters can match older ones, we have the power to change the result in hundreds of seats next May.

“By registering to vote, we can warn politicians we are ready to use that power. We can make sure that our jobs and pay, our chance to buy a home, our chance to study without crippling debt – our future – is at the heart of every election debate.”

Managing Director of Bite the Ballot Michael Sani said: “Politicians write policies for people who participate – those who are registered to vote, and those who vote. This means that younger citizens are often ignored. But young people have the power to change this. By registering to vote, young people become votes worth winning. They can demand change and use their power to punish or reward politicians at the ballot box.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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