Almost two thirds of university students in Manchester do not know when the EU referendum is taking place, according to a new poll published today.
The poll, conducted by YouthSight for Universities UK, reveals also that, while a high proportion of students from across the UK are interested in the outcome, many risk not being able to vote because they are not registered at the address where they will be on 23 June 2016, the date of the referendum.
Almost two million UK students are eligible to vote in the June referendum and huge efforts have been made by universities and colleges across the UK to increase student voter registration numbers. The date of the referendum, however – outside of term-time – means many students who registered to vote at the recent local elections (5 May), may need to re-register if they will be at a different address on 23 June.
The poll found that 63% of students in Manchester were not able to name the date of the referendum
49% of students in Manchester did not know in which month the referendum is taking place but 81% of students in Manchester think the outcome of the referendum will have a significant impact on students’ futures
Only 50% of eligible students in Manchester know where they will definitely be on the date of the referendum, while only 13% have applied for a postal or proxy vote
This week, universities across the UK, in a bid to help get students referendum ready, is supporting a major student registration drive led by Universities UK, the National Union of Students and the Association of Colleges. Students from across Manchester will be encouraged to register, re-register or apply for a postal vote, depending on their circumstances.
Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Students in Manchester, together with others up and down the country, could play a decisive role in the EU referendum on 23 June. The EU referendum is a once-in-a-generation decision, so it is all the more vital that young people have their say. I would not want any of our students to lose out on their chance to vote because they were not registered or were registered to vote in the wrong place. This is why we are supporting this initiative by Universities UK, the NUS and others to urge everyone to register to vote by 7 June.”