The Union has been working over the summer with colleagues in the University and at Ceredigion County Council to put in place a supported system of electoral registration for the start of the 2019/20 academic year.
The University and the Electoral Office have now revised agreements that was needed as a result of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation last year. This now allows the University to share student contact data with Ceredigion County Council in order to help the electoral registration.
This now means that all students with an address in Ceredigion may now receive electoral information about registering to vote, including self-registration online. The information the County Council receive may be cross matched for accuracy, but will only be used to support the registration process and contacting those who haven’t yet registered.
It’s important to note that students can register in both their home and term-time constituencies, but in a General Election can only vote once.
Unfortunately an automatic registration process would require the University to collect National Insurance numbers – this is not required in Wales, and while it had been up until this year in England thus allowing some Universities to create automatic registration processes, it will no longer be going forward. It would also lengthen and complicate the University’s Registration processes which we agree should be avoided.
However, in addition to the supported system of registration, we have also increased communications and publicity on our website and via social media in relation to voter registration and upcoming elections.
As a Union, while we are keen to continue to work on simplifying processes in the future; we agree the steps outlining and prioritising the establishment of a supported process is a priority.