Outgoing Deputy Editor Louise Jones discusses funding cuts to the youth campaigns usually provided to engage young people to vote.
Funding previously provided by the Cabinet Office for youth vote campaigns has been slashed and will not be available in this election due to the immediacy of its nature.
Youth vote campaigners are warning of a ‘democratic deficit’ in the general election, as it emerged that the Cabinet Office will not provide funding to the groups focused on increasing turnout among young and marginalised people. This includes groups such as LGBTQ+ and BAME.
The electoral commission has launched a campaign to increase voter registration before the deadline on 22 May, according to a Guardian article: “funding provided by the Cabinet Office in past general elections will not be available this time because the pre-election period has already begun”.
Lucy Caldicott, chief executive of the youth leadership organisation UpRising commented that: “We are in an environment where many charities are already working really hard to get our campaigns, which encourage young people to vote, up and running but we are asking just how much of an impact we can make in such a short time.”
“There is a real risk of there being a democratic deficit in this election due to the lack of notice and short campaign. Do we continue to focus on our core long-term activity or throw our assets behind getting a few thousand more votes out, as important as that is? We will of course encourage all those young people we work with to take part by voting on the 8 June.”
Young people could be left feeling ignored and marginalised as charities are left to make the decision as to whether investing money into resources encouraging the youth vote is financially viable. For many charities, the EU referendum vote was a costly affair which jeopardised their financial future for the at least the next five years . Likewise, the election falls during the examination period, and so some students are unsure whether to register at their university address or at home, causing some disruption in getting votes from people under the age of 24.
The election also coincides with the Muslim month of Ramadan, raising questions about a further potential barrier for ethnic and faith minorities who are already under-registered.