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Thousands of Bath students take to the polls as voting opens

Written by Benjamin Butcher, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Thousands of students from both the University of Bath and Bath Spa University are heading to the polls today as the United Kingdom holds its General Election.polly - secretlondon123

The Bath constituency, which is currently held by the Liberal Democrats, is home to seven candidates each vying to secure the seat in Parliament for the next five years.

The polls are open across the city from 7am until 10pm with all registered voters able to find their designated polling booth on their registration slip or online. The majority of Freshers who have registered in Bath are likely to find their polling station in the library on campus.

Anyone who failed to register before the 20th April will be unable to vote.

The race is contested by representatives from all the five main parties (UKIP, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Labour, the Greens), but also an Independent and an English Democrat.

Also taking place are the elections for all 65 Councillor seats in the local Bath and North East Somerset Council. A number of these seats – notably Westmoreland and Oldfield – are home to a dense population of students.

Bath represents an important seat for the current coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, with both parties putting a lot of resources into the seat.

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Bath constituency infographic (click)

Although Don Foster, who stepped down as a Member of Parliament in March after twenty-three years in power, won a 10,000 vote majority for the Liberal Democrats in 2010, it is understood that the Conservative Party sees winning the South West as pivotal to securing a majority in Parliament.

On Monday, Conservative Party leader David Cameron visited the city and in March Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg also visited the city.

Students in Bath represent up to 25% of the local population meaning all candidates have been keen to woo the group at hustings held across February and March. The candidates appeared together on campus at the Big Debate, clashing over immigration, climate change and the economy.

Yet whilst students represent a large portion of the city, low registration or ‘home constituency voting’ means that their impact on the city’s result might be diminished.

Freddy Clapson, SU Activities Officer, who has been spearheading the University of Bath Student Unions’ campaign on student engagement in the election said: “The important thing today is for all registered students to get out there vote. Vote on what matters to you, who represents you and who you think will make the change you want.”

The results are expected to be announced in the early hours of the morning with the count and announcement taking place in the STV on campus.

If you are planning on staying up to find out the results, URB, CampusTV and bathimpact will be updating you on the latest election news for students, Bath and nationally in an Election Special tonight from 8.00pm.

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