Fear that young voters are "frozen out" of democractic process with EU referendum and London mayoral election looming

James Nickerson
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UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall
Younger voters are confused about the process of registration (Source: Getty)

Young people are being are being frozen out of the democratic process as they become increasing disconnected from it, a new study has warned.

With the EU referendum and London mayoral election looming, the democratic process is failing to connect with younger people.

The research found a key barrier to voting was electoral registration, with four in ten younger voters are "confused about the process of registering to vote".

This could be a problem for the Remain campaign, given most polls suggest younger people are more pro-Remain, against older people who tend to be more supportive of Brexit.

And further to that, the research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Ben & Jerry's and Hope not Hate found that four in ten also cited "a lack of communication about the need of registering to vote" as a problem.

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Overall, around one in five Londoners are not registered to vote, as the report states a city the size of Nottingham has "dropped off" London electoral register since May 2015.

The report comes after the Electoral Commission warned that thousands of voters may not get the chance to cast a vote in upcoming elections after changes to the registration process.

"This research is hugely worrying, and shows that young people are being left in the dark about our democracy. It is now easier than ever to register to vote, but there simply isn’t enough being done to get the facts out there," said Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society.

"These findings also show that young people are simply being locked out of the political conversation – whether it’s on Europe or the mayoralty. Polling for us by BMG research last week showed that just 10 per cent of 18-24 year olds feel well informed about the EU referendum – a considerably lower proportion than the rest of the public," she added.

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Specifically on the mayoral election, a further four in ten young Londoners feel they’ve hardly been made aware of the campaign in the last three months.

When asked about other potential barriers preventing their age group from registering to vote, nearly half of young Londoners said it was "not being able to relate to the candidates".

Just over a third claimed that the way they were currently being contacted would not have any bearing on whether they decided to register to vote.

One in four renting Londoners also said they don’t get involved with voting locally as they don’t see themselves living in one place long enough.

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