A series of parties in Leeds will be providing voter registration services and encouraging young people to have their say in the June 8th ballot.
With the registration deadline on Monday 22nd May looming, some of the parties’ organisers are offering free entry to those who register prior to the event, while others will offer registration services at the event itself.
The hope is that the parties can be used to help mobilise young people in Leeds and raise awareness of the importance of increasing turnout among the key 18-24 age group.
Requiring only that prospective voters know their registered address and National Insurance number, the events will help people to register online and can offer advice to those considering tactical voting.
Alex Sobel, Labour candidate for the Leeds North West constituency, said: “In Leeds North West 27.5% of people are aged 18-24 but fewer than that are registered and even fewer vote. But the election here could be decided by those same young people if they voted. Young people have a voice and power to have that voice heard if they choose to use it.”
So here’s a rundown of all the events taking place in Leeds this weekend before Monday’s deadline.
Puddles – Hyde Park Book Club – Friday 19th May
This will be a free party with a laptop available for registration and posters offered to the first few to register on the night. The night’s Facebook event can be found here.
Lydia Lloyd-Henry, co-founder of Puddles, said: “We understand that if 30% more under 25s vote this could swing the election. Hopefully we can help towards that figure even if it’s only a small amount. Regardless of who people vote for we, just want everyone to vote. We think a lot of people don’t understand how easy and quick it actually is. Most people don’t think it will actually affect them but it’s our generation it will affect the most now. We also want to get rid of the stigma that politics and getting involved with it isn’t cool. What better way to register than while having a drink and listening to some good music?”
Love Muscle – Wharf Chambers – Saturday 20th May
A voter registration service will be provided at Love Muscle between 7pm and 1am. The night’s Facebook event can be found here.
Michael Upson, founder and resident of Love Muscle, said: “As with most minority groups, members of the LGB and particularly Trans community are adversely affected by changes to policy in health & welfare because they tend to rely on those services more than their straight & cis counterparts. That’s why it’s more important than ever, especially in the current political climate, for the LGBT+ community to have an active voice in this general election. Therefore Love Muscle will be providing a voting registration service from 7pm-1am this Saturday at Wharf Chambers to encourage members of the LGBT+ community to become politically active and have a voice in this general election.”
Get Out The Vote – Hyde Park Book Club – Monday 22nd May
Another free party bringing together local talents from Leeds’ music, arts, and food scene. A voter registration service will be offered throughout and advice on tactical voting will also available. The night’s Facebook event can be found here.
Jack Simpson, owner of Hyde Park Book Club, said: “Representation is fundamental to a decent society. If people don’t vote they won’t be represented. This is especially problematic if whole demographics are under represented—young people for instance. I also think creatives and lots of recently-converted-to-politics types on the left are quite often prone to ranting but not engaging in formal politics. Again, a decent society is predicated upon organised, formal politics. These institutions are not naturally self preserving—they require day in day out efforts to maintain them.”
Vote 2 Party – Wire – Wednesday 7th June
Vote 2 Party will be a collaboration between Brotherhood Sound, Cosmic Slop, Brudenell Groove, On Rotation, Glug Glug, and &/Or Emporium, with a free ticket for anyone who sends confirmation that they have registered to vote to firstname.lastname@example.org. The night’s Facebook event can be found here.
Andrew Kemp, co-founder and resident of Brudenell Groove, said: “We’re beyond the point now where apathy or abstinence are acceptable. Whilst turnout among young people is low, politicians will continue to ignore us, and the results of that have already proven devastating. Our generation has been ignored and hurt by successive governments, but we’re also more and more lucid to the fact that we can make a difference. It’s time for us to take action in every way we can, and using a party to promote voting is just one way of doing that.”
George Hartshorn, founder of Brotherhood Sound, said: “I think it’s very easy for us to live in our own political bubble. Social media sites like Facebook just become an echo chamber of your views or a battleground with a stranger in the comments of a news article. I don’t think I’m just speaking for myself when I say Brexit took me by complete surprise, and whilst I voted to remain I never actually opened a dialogue with a Leave voter or went out canvassing because I was so sure we wouldn’t leave. I think the time of inaction from our generation needs to end, and getting young people to register to vote is just the first step.”
You can register to vote on the government’s website.
Filed under: Politics