25 Feb 2016

Democracy and Engagement

X marks the spot in Bristol’s voter registration drive

Voters in Bristol are being asked to do their bit and get involved with the #RegAFriend campaign aimed at getting young people to register to vote.

The campaign is asking young people in the city to encourage their friends to register to vote by sharing photos of their ‘voter cross’ on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #RegAFriend.

Young people are often one of the lowest represented groups on the electoral register, with only 76% of 18-19 year olds and 70% of 20-24 year olds registered to vote nationally. This compares to 95% of those aged 65 and above.

Registering to vote has never been easier with a simple form available online. People can visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to fill in the online registration form via desktop, mobile or tablet.

The #RegAFriend campaign will run from 25 February right through until 18 March. Anyone aged 16 and above can register but only those aged 18 and above can vote in the upcoming elections in Bristol.

Sophie Giltinan, member of Bristol’s Youth Council and first time voter,18, said:
“I think that being able to vote in open and democratic elections is one of the most important rights in our society. Voting gives us all the chance of having a say in how our city is run and who is making decisions on our behalf. Those decisions often affect young people so I believe it’s vitally important that young people register to vote.

“Getting young people involved in politics is something me and my colleagues on Bristol’s Youth Council are passionate about and what better place to start than registering to vote. I will be supporting this campaign and looking to my friends for their support also.”

The upcoming elections in May will give the residents of Bristol an unprecedented chance to have a say on the local democratic makeup of the city. Votes cast on 5 May will determine the political makeup of the city for the coming four years with the Mayoral election and, for the first time, a vote on all 70 councillor seats in Bristol. Votes will also be cast in the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election.

Nicola Yates, Electoral Registration Officer for Bristol City Council, said:
“Voting is an important democratic right that, in May, will give those who are registered a chance to have their say on the city’s leadership. That includes Bristol’s young people who make up over 15% of the city’s population. I urge those who have already registered to vote to show their support and share the message with their friends, to make their mark on this year’s polling day.”