Today sees the start of a drive by the Electoral Commission and the National Union of Students asking people to use social media to inspire their friends to register to vote ahead of the elections which are taking place on Thursday 5 May.

Utilising the power of social media, they are asking young people across the UK to encourage their friends to register to vote by sharing photos of their ‘voter cross’ and using the hashtag #RegAFriend.

Commission research from 2014 found that UK wide, 76% of 18-19 year olds and 70% of 20-24 year olds were registered to vote compared to 95% of those aged 65 plus.

Recent figures released by the Commission also showed that students across the UK remain one of the groups less likely to be registered to vote.

RegAFriend_VotersCross_object_sushiBen Brook, Head of English Regions at the Electoral Commission said:

‘‘It’s not long now until there are important elections across the UK and we don’t want people to miss out on having their say just because they aren’t registered.

This is a really easy and fun way for lots of people to quickly share the registration message on social media and get their friends and family involved. Registering to vote is easy and only takes a few minutes online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.”

Megan Dunn, NUS President said:

“The student voice has been vital in national and local elections for decades, and this initiative will make sure students continue to have their say. With so many important elections across the UK this year, it’s crucial students understand the new voter registration system and re-register if they need to. It is incredibly important students play their role in democracy and aren’t left disenfranchised.”

The deadline to register to vote in May is Monday 18 April.