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More than 3,000 free ice cream given out to students to vote

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Around 3,000 free ice creams were given out to students in Cardiff yesterday as part of the Generation Vote campaign, encouraging students to register on the electoral roll.

This means more than one in 10 students had an 99 ice cream from one of four ice cream vans stationed at different locations across campus and nearly 1,000 students registered to vote on the spot. The event was part of a national campaign across universities in the UK and the result of a £5,000 grant combining NUS and the Cabinet Office funding.

Elliot Howells, President of Cardiff University Student Union, said: “We were surprised at how many students had already registered which shows our previous campaigns have been successful.”

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Students could also take part in different games around political parties, guessing who tweeted what, which aiming to challenge perceptions of political parties. When asked if they knew which political party they were going to vote for, students answered equally ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, on which Mr Howells commented ‘was surprising”.

He added: “The day was a huge success and gained media attention across the country. I’m very proud of what we have achieved this year with regard to voter registration drives. We’ve had one of the biggest push in the country.”

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The next step of the campaign include a debate between Welsh party leaders on the April 27 and a voter day street party in May. The campaign targets the 12,000 people who dropped off the electoral in the Cardiff Central constituency in the last year, largely populated by students.

The swing seat in the General Election is a tight run between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who won the seat again in 2010 with just 3,000 votes over the Labour candidate. The decrease in the number of people registered to vote has affected many cities in the UK following the Government’s introduction of an individual registration system in June 2014.

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