Election 2019: celebrities encouraging young voters to register

With the voter registration deadline fast approaching, how are celebrities and organisations engaging young people in politics?

Celebrities are sharing campaigns on social media to encourage young people to register to vote.

Young people in Cardiff are being urged to register to vote in next month’s election by celebrities sharing messages on social media.

Big names including Divina de Campo from Ru Paul’s Drag Race and UK band Foals have shared messages online from the It’s Our Time campaign.

Julie’s Bicycle – a charity partnering with creative industries to promote action on climate change – are collaborating with It’s Our Time to encourage young people to register to vote before 26th November.

UK rock band Foals tweeted the #ItsOurTime campaign hashtag with a link to register to vote. Credits: @Foals on Twitter.

Farah Ahmed, Events and Network Coordinator at Julie’s Bicycle said, “There’s loads of exciting stuff happening. We’re engaging with influencers, musicians, radio presenters: people who can talk to their own audiences in a different way.

“Influencers each have their own specific niche audiences and that’s great because you can talk about things in a way that really means something to a group of people, instead of it being a blanket statement.”

Young people are less likely to be on the electoral register and less likely to vote than older people; 43% of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2017 general election, compared with 82% of people aged 65 and over, according to House of Commons research.

Ahmed cites disillusionment and lack of awareness as potential reasons for the low numbers of political engagement among young people.

“We can better engage with young people by listening to their concerns,” Ahmed said. “Millennials and Generation Z are really driven by being part of much bigger things. This campaign is trying to make it feel like a movement, rather than a set of tiny individual actions that you keep to yourself.”

Young people are disproportionately less likely to be on the electoral register than their older counterparts. Credits: Electoral Commission, 2019.

Here in Cardiff, a local councillor in Canton said there are no specific campaigns to target young people.

Cardiff Council are, however, encouraging the general public to register to vote. A Cardiff Council spokesperson said, “We’re using our social media channels to post daily messages in the run up to the deadline to ensure people are aware they need to register.”

Students have the legal right to register at both their home and term-time address, but can only vote once in general elections. To work out where your vote can be most effectively used, have a look at this BBC article mapping marginal seats across the country.

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming UK general election is 11:59pm on Tuesday 26th November, with the earlier deadline of 5pm for postal voting.