EXPOSED: Lying Labour dupes students
The 2017 GE saw a significant rise in the number of young people voting, some for the very first time. Most of these votes contributed to the success of the Labour Party, as young people up and down the country were drawn to Corbyn’s ‘cool‘ image, as well as the their irresponsible and uncosted ‘freebie manifesto‘. As a university student myself, I witnessed the surge in support for the Labour Party, with social media becoming a crucial factor in the way in which political parties fostered support. Jeremy Corybn has become somewhat of a cult figure, which a major following across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Whilst the Conservative party remained aloof to young people and their issues, the Labour party organised a major digital campaign that maximised young voter registration, and ignited a passion for politics unseen for a decade.
Liberal youngsters were drawn to him like moths to a flame, with his idealistic approach to world affairs, and indifference to economic stability, and Theresa May’s old, decrepit image stood no chance against Corybn’s fresh, youthful appeal.
More than half of those aged 18-24 turned out to vote, an increase of 16 percentage points on 2015, and these votes went in their thousands to Labour.
Since the election, a number of concerns have been raised by the Electoral Commission, and one of these issues will be the subject of this article; double voting amongst students.
As many university students are aware, when you move away to your university town, you can register to vote in both your home town, and your new town. This has led to the assumption amongst many students, that we are allowed to vote twice. During my time at university, I have seen through the EU referendum and the 2017 GE, and throughout both, voting rules were not explained by either the university nor the Electoral Commission.
I personally am aware of several people that voted twice, ignorant of the fact that this is a criminal offence. When an election comes around, students get a postal vote from their home town, and a polling card from the constituency that their university town is based in. Many students will, without acknowledgement of the rules, sign and send back their postal vote, and dutifully take their cards on polling day and vote again. A lot of this action is done with no knowledge of the rules in place, and many of my friends have been shocked to learn that what they have done carries a hefty fine, however we must acknowledge the possibility that these double voting may have changed the result of the election, potentially costing the Conservatives their majority, but also entirely overstating Labour success.
Our shambles of an electoral system has ensured that necessary authorities have been unable to confirm or fine anyone guilty of double voting, and it means that nothing will come of any investigation they do. Regardless, nothing can change the outcome, and one can only hope that the rules in future elections are guarded and monitored, and any illegal voting activity is dealt with in the proper manner. Students should also be informed of correct voting procedure, and warned of the consequences of voting twice. All parties should be united in tackling this issues, but it comes as no surprise that the Labour party has been silent on this issue, after all, they have benefited enormously from these voting irregularities. The Labour Party must be held accountable over this issue as, after lying to students over their callous manifesto, they benefited from clueless students voting twice for a party they believed would deliver them a political revolution. We have later discovered in the past week that Labour lied about their electoral promises, and have U-turned on student debt in a disturbing way. They have the nerve to act as though they made no such promise to erase student debt, leaving students feeling duped and misguided over their election choice.
The Electoral Commission has suggested a number of ways to reform the system, including investing in a new IT system that would prevent double voting, as the current system of paper lists, make it difficult to notice those that vote twice in separate locations. There is a risk of deterring young people to vote if the government makes it difficult to register, however for democracy’s sake, rules need to be changed to uphold the democratic integrity of the British voting system.