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Thousands of students might be excluded from voting in next year’s general election if they don’t wake up and get themselves registered, according to a BBC report.

The system has changed from one in which the head of a household – labelled an “old-fashioned idea” by Auntie – was responsible for informing the authorities of all voters living there (after being asked to do so by the local authority), to one in which each voter has to register him- or herself individually.

Here’s the catch. The BBC reported: “Although 87 per cent of existing voters have been automatically transferred, 13 per cent have not and it appears that it is students who have been left out.”

That’s right – under the system that requires you to voluntarily apply to be part of the democratic process, seven-eighths of the population were registered automatically.

Students – who tend to be not only young (and therefore less likely to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat) but also politically radical (and therefore less likely to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat) are the largest social group that didn’t get transferred.

According to the Beeb, this is because their colleges used to register them, acting as the ‘head of the household’, but are now forbidden to do so.

This doesn’t stack up when so many of us were automatically transferred onto the voting register for the new system. Why not students as well, if their addresses were known?

You can be sure that pensioners were all registered automatically, no matter where they were living or what they were doing. Government ministers will be familiar with the old adage: “If you don’t vote Labour when you’re young, you’ve got no heart; if you don’t vote Conservative when you’re old, you’ve got no brains.” They’re banking on it.

Thank goodness for those of us who don’t have any brains – as Yr Obdt Srvt’s former college lecturer once said (and before anybody makes uncouth suggestions, he was one of the most intelligent people there).

In the meantime, if you know anyone who has not yet registered to vote, make sure you sit them down in front of a computer and get them to do it. The whole routine only takes a few minutes.

It could make the difference between a democratic vote and the return of Rotten Boroughs.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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