Students encouraged to register to vote in Hatfield

WITH the General Election looming, three political rivals have formed an unlikely partnership to encourage students at the University of Hertfordshire to register to vote.

Tory candidate Grant Shapps, Labour’s Mike Hobday and Lib Dem hopeful Paul Zukowskyj have all joined a group on social networking site Facebook entitled ‘Let’s get all UH students registered to vote!’

Mr Hobday founded the group after discovering that only 36 of the university’s 2,000 students are registered to vote in Welwyn Hatfield.

At the time of going to press, the group had attracted 118 members.

“No matter who students want to vote for, it’s vital that they get the chance to vote,” Mr Hobday said.

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“The abject failure of Welwyn Hatfield Council to register more than 36 out of around 2,000 students on the electoral register is a scandal of the highest order.

“Democracy simply doesn’t work if thousands of local residents aren’t registered to vote.

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“Students have a huge stake in the future of our society and it’s a scandal the council has managed to put less than two per cent of them on the voting register.”

“Obviously, I hope students will vote for me, but it’s crucial they’re able to choose who to vote for.”

A university spokeswoman said: “The university is actively encouraging its students to be part of the democratic process and register to vote at the forthcoming elections, however, we are aware that some students may have already registered to vote in their home town.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council has been working closely with the University of Hertfordshire to encourage the maximum number of eligible students to vote locally.

“Since April 2009, each eligible student has received notification of the right to vote and has been asked to register.”

She added: “A possible factor may be that students prefer to register and vote in their home area rather than where their university is based.”

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