Lancashire students to ‘sex up’ politics in bid to get kids to vote

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Students at Preston’s University of Central Lancashire are “sexing” up politics in a bid to ensure people don’t miss out on their right to vote.

And, they are hoping the campaign will be picked up nationally.

Lee Macneall, UCLan Students' Union president, is encouraging students to vote

Lee Macneall, UCLan Students' Union president, is encouraging students to vote

It follows changes in the electoral registration rules which mean that many students run the risk of not being on the electoral register due to having moved home in the last 12 months and if they do not register before the national deadline will unable to cast their vote in the general election.

The project led by UCLan Students’ Union president Lee Macneall launched this week and will employ students to explain the benefits of voter registration to other students through a series of fun on-campus activities, door to door visits and social media activity. Flash mobs and “sexed up videos” are also being produced to spice up the campaign.

Lee said: “We’ve adopted the theme “I’m Doing It” to give it a bit of a sexy angle and the adverts are all a bit edgy to get people interested.

“We want to draw them in because we need to make sure people realise if they don’t register they won’t get a vote.

“We’ve joined up with the city council, which is a first for us and something quite unusual. We are trying to steer away from national politics but we have got to grab the attention of people so we are givingo out postcards and employing people to go round all the student accommodation on campus and providing people with the tabs to register themselves online.”

The initiative is attracting a lot of interest among other universities and Lee said he was hoping the campaign would be replicated nationally.

The SU president added: “It is important for students to engage in registering for this year’s elections. Not only does it set a precedent for students in the election, it also allows our community to be heard on a stronger platform.

“Five years ago students who engaged in the election were left disappointed.

“If we as a community unite and come together we could change the way politicians view students. It’s essential to register this year as students who have moved in the past 12 months don’t automatically get registered.  It’s quick and easy to register and could be done whilst making a brew!”

Preston City Council chief executive, Lorraine Norris, said: “We are delighted to be working with UCLan Students’ Union, in what is one of the first partnerships of its kind in the UK.

We realise the importance of engaging with young people in Preston as they are the next generation for democracy.

“It is vitally important that students and young people register to vote with this year being election year. If they do not register they have no vote, no voice, and no say.”

The aim is to get around 3,000 students living in halls and on the campus registered.