With regional elections and the EU referendum looming, the stars of Hollyoaks tell us why it's so important for students to register to vote.
Voting Matters. But many students can find themselves unable to exercise their right, maybe because they've only recently turned 18, or if they've recently moved house.
It's really easy to register - it only takes five minutes online!
Why is it important for students and young people to register to vote?
Jazmine Franks (plays Esther Bloom): We are the next generation of people who can make a change in government. We are the ones that in a few years might be moaning about certain policies the government are bringing into power and if we didn't vote we don't really have a say. The next generation are the ones who can make a difference. Without registering, you can't vote.
Why are the cast of Hollyoaks campaigning on this issue?
Jennifer Metcalfe (plays Mercedes McQueen): Hollyoaks has always prided itself on engaging a young audience in a motivating and thought-provoking manner. It’s a brilliant opportunity to encourage young people to be more pro-active about voting, in particular as research has shown this age group are less likely to be registered.
Why do you think so many young people don’t vote?
Amanda Clapham (plays Holly Cunningham): There could be a number of different reasons why people don’t vote. One of them could be that the certain date that people need to be registered by can sometimes be easily missed. Another could be it seems difficult and complicated to register but it’s actually really easy. You can register online and it only takes five minutes.
If more students registered to vote, would we see greater focus or empathy around student issues (e.g. tuition fees) in parliament?
Jazmine Franks: I'm guessing young people and students would vote for whose policies worked best for them, so if student fees was something that a party was looking into then yes it would be focused on more in parliament. A great idea to get voices heard is once you’ve registered to vote, nominate a friend to register.
Do you consider your character in Hollyoaks to be ‘politically active’?
Duayne Boachie (plays Zack Loveday): I think Zack would support this campaign because he is very vocal about his opinions. Things like student loans and university fees would affect him and they are all influenced by the vote too.
Local and regional elections are taking place on Thursday 5 May, and the EU Referendum takes place on Thursday 23 June. Don’t miss your chance to have your say – register to vote today!
The Hollyoaks cast will be promoting voter registration during the break in the episode on Monday 21 March – 6.30pm, Channel 4.