MMU students deciding how to vote ahead of local elections – many for the first time
- Some students did not register for the vote
- Many feel overlooked by their ward councillors
- Undecided abot what local issues matter
With local elections taking place today, young people across campus have been thinking about the way that they would like to vote.
NQ caught up with students around MMU campus about how they are preparing to vote in a new city and what their votes mean to them.
“I actually did miss the registration,” said fine art and art history student William Clarke, 20.
“I really didn’t even know that there was an election until two weeks ago. I am registered to vote now but I missed the cut-off.
“I do think that the news and the way things are perpetuated through the media that politics is quite dense and it really does need to be more accessible to students.
“The university does thrive off of having free speech so I think the university could have definitely done more.”
When asked about the decisions behind his voting mentality, Clarke said: “You’ve got to just vote for what you think is correct and be educated on what you’re voting for.
“Politics at the moment is just such a mess for both parties.
“In British politics there’s often this line of division that you have to vote Labour to get the Tories out or you can only vote for either party.
“But if we only think like that then nothing is going to change, so I think it’s really important that if you are going to vote for a party that isn’t Labour or Conservative that you believe that your vote does matter or does count.”
This was echoed by film and English student Jess Cooper, 21: “There is no such thing as a perfect party. I hate all politicians anyway, but going for one that most aligns with your beliefs because it is important to vote regardless.”
Cooper said it was important to know about the ward that you were voting in: “It’s easy for me because I live at home, so I have always known where I’m voting, but especially for people who live further from home, being well aware of registration and being well aware of where to vote and how to vote.
“If you can’t make it in person, I didn’t realise you could vote by post until quite recently, so I would really like it if universities themselves pushed for students to vote because it’s our future.”
Multimedia Journalism student Niamh Melody, 21, said about postal voting: “Because I only live here temporarily, I vote back home in the west Midlands. I voted by post which is a very long process.
“I think the voting process is very difficult for students which is why I think a lot of people can be put off because they have an address here and at home and it’s hard for them to temporarily set up their vote here to just change it.
“It’s such a long process that people don’t see the point, especially for a local election.
“It’s important for young people to know about politics generally because it’s our future that it’s affecting. As much as it affects families it probably affects young people more than they realise and I think they can be quite naive to that.”
History student Dougal Chudley, 20, said that would vote for “things that will help you at and after uni. I think the minimum wage should definitely be raised.”
He said he was less sure about issues in Manchester’s and would be voting back home.
Psychology student Luc Domange, 21, said: “I hadn’t really thought about voting to be honest, I might do now.
“I think it would help a lot to know which ward you’re in. I think a lot of people we know aren’t really aware so it would be good to inform people.”
Biomedical Science student Paige McCoy, 21, agreed, saying; “I didn’t really know anything about it before. I hadn’t really heard much about it, so if there was more publicity about what ward you’re in and where to vote.
“My friends haven’t really spoken to me about it either.”
Val Vettore, 21, a drama and contemporary performance student w agreed it would be good if students were helped to know where their ward after moving house.
“It would be good for councillors to engage with their residents more often because I don’t know what they’re doing,” she said.
“Even though I’m only living here for three years it will still affect me if the road quality is rubbish or my bins aren’t getting collected.
She said she would vote “but begrudgingly”.
“I will, I’m on the fence on whether I want to vote for a candidate or whether I just spoil my vote, because I’m not really happy with what used to be my party.
At the very least I will spoil my vote but I wouldn’t not vote at all.”