Make your mark and register to vote this Autumn!

With a General Election approaching on December 12 Orbital and the Students' Union have teamed up to remind you to vote!

Social media. Phones. The internet. We live in an interconnected world in which everyone has an opinion and are one click away from showing it off for everybody to see. Why then is voter turnout, especially in the 18-24 age group slowly decreasing? We all clearly want to express our opinions but it seems we’ve lost the ability to do this in a meaningful way. Don’t get us wrong; we are fed up of talking about Brexit and for people who are interested in politics we are both bored and deeply upset with the political situation in Britain at the moment. And that is why we are going to vote. 

Knife crime, poverty, the NHS, cuts to education funding, climate change and a deeply divided society are issues we all face in this country at the moment. These are the issues that we all care about. Multi-faceted problems such as these can seem unsolvable and tend to loom over both the country and everybody affected by them. If you think about it for too long you can become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of these problems and a solution seems a long way off.  The one step we can all take towards a solution is voting. As injustice and inequality is so prevalent in modern society that is all overcome in the act of casting a vote. No one vote is worth more than another and every vote is a voice; they are all equally heard. 

As more voices are heard, the louder they get, the background noise begins to fade out and a single harmonious message emerges from the chaos. Never before has society ever been so vocal and outspoken but in such an ineffectual manner. You can shout as loudly as you want but if you don’t vote you are screaming into the void. 

By voting you can change who governs the country, you can vote for someone you believe in and someone who can change the country and your constituency for the better. We all know how the country can improve and what sort of country we want to live in. Britain is struggling at the moment but on December 12 you can stand up for a country you want to live in at such a crucial time; an opportunity you may never have again.

We cannot fail to recognise the ultimate sacrifice that countless men and women have made both on the battlefield and on the streets across the globe to make sure our voice is heard. If you wear the Royal Holloway colours, the colours of the suffragettes, or the poppy to remember those who fell defending our freedom, it is inexcusable to squander the most basic of rights that have been afforded to you. 

The Students’ Union are making it easier than ever to take advantage of the rights afforded to you and have your voice heard. They are running a campaign to get every single student at Royal Holloway registered to vote. They have guidance on their website and will be running drives in conjunction with societies and teams. They’re determined to get your voice heard and are willing to help along the way. 

On election night when the returning officer comes to the microphone to announce the results and the votes in their thousands are attributed to the candidates: make sure you are one of those who are counted. You may not like the result but at least you can say that on a chilly December 12 when very little else was happening you made yourself heard. 

How to Vote:

So, you’ve just read all the reasons why you should vote and you may be wondering how to go about it. Here’s some handy tips. 

1. You have one vote.

2. Your ballot is secret so you don’t have to tell anyone who you voted for if you don’t want to.

3. There are lots of polling stations in Egham and Englefield Green as well as some on campus.

4. When you register to vote you’ll be sent a polling card for an upcoming election. Bring it with you!

5. If you would prefer to vote in your home constituency you can vote through a postal vote to have it counted there.

If you’re unsure about anything regarding voting, speak to the Students’ Union or talk to the attendants at the polling stations. They’re there to help and make the process as easy as possible. Polling stations are open 7am-10pm. Now, stop reading this and go out and get registered!