Sunderland students may have lost their right to vote after an electoral shake-up.
The voter-registering system has been changed so that universities can no longer “block register” students living in halls of residence..
Under the new system, that has been scrapped and students will have to register as individuals.
Critics say that nearly 800,000 names could be removed from the register due to the switch.
The changes were crafted by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and are designed to minimise electoral fraud and “clean up the system”.
The cabinet office has said that the changes were “essential” and were needed to remove those who were “dead or never existed”.
“Ghost voters” (people registered fraudulently) have allegedly influenced voting in many elections.
Student Steven Brunton said that although “there were a lot of things to consider”, he accused the system of “letting everyone down”.
In September, UKIP leader Nigel Farage claimed that fraudulent voting affected his party’s performance in the Oldham by-election.
However, many have labelled the changes as “outrageous” and claim the changes risk disenfranchising many people and that “disinterested” students may not even be aware of the changes to the system.
Labour has even gone so far as to accuse the government of deliberately trying to manipulate the voting system in a process called “gerrymandering”.
They claim that as most ‘block registered’ voters would vote for them, they are unfairly disadvantaged by the changes.
However the main concern of many is that de-registered students may not be able register in time for upcoming local elections and the crucial EU election.
You can register to vote here.
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