Your guide to voting in the 2024 UK General Election

On the 4 July 2024, the UK will go to the polls in the General Election and the campaigning has already begun. It’s a big deal because this will decide who will be the Government for the next five years.

Whether you’re planning to graduate into the world of work or further studies, whoever wins power will have a significant impact on your life for the next few years. By voting, you can help choose who this will be. You’ll be voting for your Member of Parliament (or ‘MP’) who will be your representative in national politics.

Historically, younger people are less likely to vote in an election than older people – this means the issues that matter to you and your friends can be overlooked. That’s why it’s important as many students as possible vote.

Don’t lose your vote: get registered!

If you’re over 18, a British, Irish, or Commonwealth citizen then you’re probably eligible to vote in the General Election. But you must register yourself to vote (it’s not automatic).

You need to register to vote before 18 June. It’s a quick and easy online process (but you will need your National Insurance number).

Where can you register, and where can you vote?

You can register in Exeter (if your accommodation tenancy ends after 4 July) and at your home address, but you can only vote in one location. If you’re intending to vote for the MP for Exeter and you’re not going to be in Exeter, you need to do this via a postal or proxy vote - the deadlines for these are coming up soon.

If you’re going to be away on election day (it’s the summer holidays after all), you can apply for a postal vote (you send in your vote by post) or a proxy vote (you nominate someone to vote in-person on your behalf).You can see our guidance and the deadlines on our dedicated elections page.

And remember, make sure to go to your polling station or have your postal vote returned before 22:00 on 4 July. And remember, if you’re going in-person you need to take the right photo ID (don’t have ID, apply for free ID now!).


Feeling Overwhelmed?

The election campaign is in full flow – filling the media and our social feeds. It can be pretty full-on, but don’t be put off. We’ve got some tips to help you navigate it all and make an informed decision.

1.     Pace yourself. Don’t feel you need to follow every twist and turn of the campaigns – you’ll be exhausted by election day! Maybe set aside some time every now and then to tune into the election – watch a debate, listen to a podcast, read a manifesto.


2.     Take some time to reflect on what matters most to you. Maybe explore what the candidates have to say on your key issues as a place to start. You might even want to contact the candidates to share your ideas!

3.     Listen to a variety of voices. Remember the candidates are trying to persuade you to vote for them rather than anyone else so will be selling their point of view. It’s useful to listen to what all the candidates are saying, as well as the analysis from a variety of reputable news sources.


4.     Remember to fact check! There’ll be plenty of slogans, spin, and gimmicks in the run up to the election – all kinds of things will in the mix. There are some good impartial and independent reporting and fact-checkers (one is Full Fact) out there which can help get to the facts! Also, watch out for deepfakes and misinformation.


The Guild’s got your back

From start to finish, we’ll be here to help you.

We want to maximise the impact Exeter’s students can make in this election. Through voter registration drives and FAQs on the election process, we want as many students to vote as possible – your choice matters!

Everything you need to know about the election is on our dedicated elections page. Still got a question? Get in touch, and we’ll see what we can do to help.

We also want to advocate for your so that issues affecting Exeter students are part of the national debate. That’s why we’ve partnered with the other students’ unions in the Russell Group to produce the Student Manifesto 2024.

We’re proudly an independent charity. So, while we’re apolitically active democratic organisation, we’re strictly impartial when it comes to party politics. We’ll advocate for student issues, but we won’t be making any endorsements. We won’t tell you who you should vote for, but we’ll help you make the most of your vote.

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