<img width="45%" align="right" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/w/images/e/ef/Resize1.jpg" alt="Polling station this way" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 2px">For many people, 7 May will be the first time they've ever been able to vote in a general election.
According to thinktank British Future, around 3.3 million young people will be newly eligible to vote. But it's also found that only 41% of them plan to cast their ballot, meaning nearly two million young people will not vote at all.

Will you be among those who stay away, or will you exercise your right to vote? Here are five reasons why your vote matters.
<h2><b>1. Registering to vote takes just minutes</b></h2>
If you do plan to vote, it's important to ensure you're registered. The voting registration deadline is on 20 April which is less than four weeks away. Registration can be completed online; it’s extremely easy to do and takes no time at all. Here’s a quick video to show you how easy it really is.

Register to vote [external link]

<h2><b>2. It's a chance to improve your credit rating</b></h2>
Registering isn't just about voting; it can also affect your credit rating. If you’re a first time home-buyer wanting a mortgage, someone that wants a credit card or if you need to borrow any sum of money, getting registered can give your rating a handy boost. Lenders use the electoral register to check that you live where you say you do; this helps to prevent fraud. Thus, when you’re on the electoral register you can boost your credit score, which means borrowing may become easier.

<table class="tborder" width="95%"><tr><td>More on TSR: <br>
<a href='https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=3180687'>Should 16/17 year olds be allowed to vote?</a>
<br><a href='https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=3218591'>Should the UK see a grand coalition?</a>
<br><a href='https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=3195709'>Join out student voting campaign here</a></td></tr></table>
<h2><b>3. You'll be able to show politicians they're wrong</b></h2>
Why do you think politicians so often ignore young people in their policies? It's because they know you won't vote; and the statistics back them up. Time and again, the 18-24 group is the worst represented at the ballot box. That means that when it comes to election time, policies are focused on the groups within society that are most likely to vote and swing seats. Vote on 7 May and - even if your chosen party is not elected - you will have done your bit to show that young people do engage with politics and do need to be listened to. That makes it harder for them to ignore you next time.
<h2><b>4. If you don't vote, you can't complain</b></h2>
If you choose not to vote, that's your call - but you're giving up your right to have any say over who governs the country for the next four or five years. And if the new government does something you don't like? Well, you can hardly complain if you didn't even vote.
<h2><b>5. You can spoil your ballot paper</b></h2>
You don't have to pick a party at the ballot box. If you really don’t like or agree with any political party, you can instead spoil your ballot paper. It's a more powerful statement than simply not voting: you're standing up and saying 'these parties and policies do not represent me'. Spoiled ballots are counted and listed as part of the turnout. You can spoil your ballot by ticking every box, scribbling all over it, writing a message...or perhaps something more creative.

<table class="tborder" width="95%"><tr><td>More on TSR: <br>
<a href='https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=3209813'>Join in the TSR political party contest</a>
<br><a href='https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=3166087'>The official general election poll discussion</a>
<br><a href='https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=1145'>Get involved with the general election talk here</a></td></tr></table>

How important do you think it is for young people to vote in this election?