Around 93% of students claim to have registered to vote in the June 8 General Election. Most of them are choosing to vote for Labour, choosing Jeremy Corbyn’s promise of free higher education and an intact NHS.
But this year’s snap election is taking place in June, a month later than usual. Most students will have finished exams, and 68% of them say they will be voting in their local home constituency. It’s hard to say exactly what impact this will have on results, but it’s possible that students’ votes will be slightly dispersed and watered down – which could be bad news for the usual marginal Labour constituencies in university towns like Exeter or Cambridge, where Labour held a majority of under 600 votes last election. So how can they play the system?
Tactical voting: what it is, and why students can do it better than anyone else
According to an exclusive Independent poll, one third of voters are choosing to vote tactically this election to block the Tories’ hard Brexit. They’re choosing to vote for whichever candidate is most likely to beat a Tory candidate in a marginal seat.
Students get to register to vote at both their home address and their term time address, and in deciding which constituency to cast their vote in, they yield a lot more power than most voters as long as they use this to their advantage. If you don’t know how to do this, there’s now an app for it.
Created by Bite the Ballot as part of their #TurnUp campaign empowering young people to vote, GE2017.com was started to help students make the most of their vote in the upcoming elections. All you have to do is enter your university and home postcodes. The app uses an algorithm to determine if either of the two constituencies are potential swing seats. If your home constituency is a safe Tory seat but your uni constituency is a battleground between Tories and Labour, say, it’ll tell you to use your vote in your uni seat.
This makes it easier than ever for students to make an impact, and also engages them by showing them exactly what their options are and how to make their voice heard. Check out an example below.
If you're a student, you can be registered at your home or student address. See where your vote counts the most: https://t.co/8nXQjzhYiE pic.twitter.com/6oSyXtuKe1
— George Aylett ? (@GeorgeAylett) May 15, 2017
If you're a student this is a useful tool to work out where you should vote to ensure it has the most impact https://t.co/C27nALCt7z #GE2017 pic.twitter.com/A3UrRTEeug
— Rachel Megan Barker (@rachellybee) May 15, 2017
The site has reportedly already been used by 30,000 students since it was launched on Saturday, and may well end up influencing where a lot more students are planning on casting their ballot. While the tool might not hold the power to avert a Tory landslide, there’s really no knowing what kind of upsets it might be able to cause in marginal seats.
Head to GE2017.com to find out more.
Words: Anne-Lise Scalabre