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Mass voter registration following Goats for Votes

Students passing through the Square on Thursday the 5th February will have had a bit of a shock at the appearance of some unexpected visitors. UEA was visited by some local goats to encourage students to register to vote in the May 2015 General Election.

The farmyard friends were on campus to help the union with their Goats for Votes campaign, which aimed to encourage students to register to vote. While students stroked the animals and posed for photos, the union saw an impressive number of students register to vote.

Norwich City Council have informed UUEAS that “over 1000 people registered to vote on or immediately after National Voter Registration Day, in what are assumed to be student properties”. This is a massive number and indicates that 7% of the total 14,000 UEA student body signed up to the electoral register.
UEA was recently named among the ten universities most likely to influence the election result in a Guardian study, making this initiative even more important. Some students have stated that the ‘major reason’ they registered to vote was due to the campaign, while others said they would have done so anyway but “the goats were a helpful reminder”.

The youth vote, even among students, has in recent elections seen a remarkably low. Only 44% of 18-25 year olds voted in the 2010 General Election and with UEA students increasingly concerned about the rising costs of tuition fees and further education, this issue is more important than ever.

Chris Jarvis, the Campaigns & Democracy Officer, described Goats for Votes as a “huge success”.

He stated that the union will “be running a series of events over the coming months to engage even more students in the General Election and make sure they are registered to vote. 1000 new members of the electoral register goes a huge way to ensuring that the student voice won’t be lost in this election”.

24/02/2015

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