Young voters are expected to head to the polling stations in their droves on Thursday to cast their ballot against Brexit – and youth groups in support of a ‘final say’ referendum have been helping to ensure they do so.
One of those is the campaign group For our Future’s Sake (FFS), a youth and student-led movement which is leading the way in encouraging young people to get out and vote tactically to deliver a Final Say parliament.
The group will be planning events across all corners of the United Kingdom on election day.
One of those will be in the constituency of Hendon, a Tory/Labour marginal where a quarter of voters are between 18 and 35. There campaigners at Middlesex University Students’ Union will be running stalls and leafleting, with further volunteers directing students to their local polling station.
A new initiative, ‘Do-Nut forget to Vote’, will encourage as many as possible with the promise of a free donut in exchange for exercising their democratic rights.
This simple and effective system will also take place at the University of Southampton in Southampton, Kingston University in Richmond, University of Gloucester in Cheltenham, and Christchurch Canterbury University in Canterbury. All of these are marginal seats, and all could be swung against the Tories by the youth vote alone.
Not to be outdone in the arena of terrible punning, the campaigners at the University of Bath have organised a similar scheme, called ‘Muffins Gonna Stop Us Voting’. A series of helpful and highly visible signs are being put up on campus in order to help students both remember to vote, and where to do it.
A whole day of action is planned at Edge Hill University in West Lancashire. Campaigners will be knocking on doors until polls close, leafleting all around campus, and hosting a results party late into the evening with the goal of making political engagement the fun and communal can activity it so rightly should be.
In Worcester, volunteers will be at the heart of the University campus in the area with the highest footfall. Materials with clear and detailed information will be distributed to students, informing them that their vote matters in the most unpredictable general election seen in decades.
The Trinity St. Davids Students’ Union in Wales and Reading Students’ Union have gone above and beyond the call of duty, organising shuttle buses to ferry people to and from polling stations – in addition to a sustained door knocking and leafleting campaign which is set to last well into the evening.
The major push, led by FFS, follows weeks of targeted efforts in 17 key marginal constituencies where there is a high proportion of youth voters. The organisation has argued – with the polls tightening – young people, if they turn out and vote tactically, have the power to decide the election.
Rosie McKenna, mobilisation officer at FFS, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see so much activity by so many students and Students’ Unions all over the country. There is a myth that young people are apathetic, but what we’re seeing is students in their droves turning out both to campaign and to vote. There are those who call us snowflakes, and they’re about to face a blizzard of young voters making their voices heard.”