Students sign up to vote

A DAY promoting political literacy at Priestley College saw 250 students register to vote.

Priestley asked ‘Bite the Ballot’ campaigners to visit the College and discuss the importance of politics. They brought electoral registration forms and encouraged the students to sign up to ensure their voice was heard in future.

Senior Tutor Mark Salmon said: “This is all part of active citizenship at the College. We run a series of activities promoting local democracy because we believe it is important to increase the political literacy of as many young people as possible.

“Only a few students had already registered and most didn’t realize they had to, which is a sign that there is not enough information out there for young people.”

According to Bite the Ballot, 40% of those eligible to vote in the UK choose not to.

The grassroots campaign group is aiming to increase the number of young voters by making politics relevant. During their day at Priestley College more than 250 students registered to vote – double the amount of any other college the group has visited.

“They started with a debate about capital punishment and then asked the students whether the Olympic Games were good value for money?” said Mark Salmon.

“Then they were given £100 with which to run the country before being told their budget was being slashed by 30%. They had to decide where they would make the cuts.”

Earlier this year John Bercow MP presented the Speaker’s School Council Award to Priestley College in recognition of six students’ efforts to promote politics among their peers.

It is Bite the Ballot’s goal is to re-brand British politics and ensure the voices of future generations are heard.

The campaigners are encouraging young people to be counted and not ‘grumble silently about decisions that are made on their behalf.’

Mark Salmon said: “The students really enjoyed the day because they were challenged and had to think for themselves. It is a great result that so many then chose to register and become a part of the political process.”

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