Sedgemoor District Labour Group is urging support for the voter registration campaign recently highlighted by the Somerset People’s Assembly.
• Around 2 million voters will be dropped from the voting register unless they re-register by 1 December 2015.
• Under the government’s new rules each voter needs to register individually, unlike the former household registration system.
• Only voters registered by the December 1st deadline will be counted for next year’s Boundary Review, which will set constituent boundaries for the next 10 years.
• Ensure that you, your family members and your friends are registered to vote by the December 1st deadline – see the link below to find out how to re-register.
The government changes to voter registration could undermine our democracy.
The new registration system is called Individual Electoral Registration (IER). Designed to reduce fraud and make the electoral register more accurate, new voters are required to register individually, thus ending the system whereby one person in the household could register everyone else.
The changes came in last summer. As a consequence there were one million fewer people than the previous year on the register. The bulk of these were students who would have previously been mass registered by their universities. Another five million people that councils weren’t able to match with official records were allowed to stay on the register in order to vote in the May 2015 general election.
In the meantime hard-pressed and cash-strapped councils have been comparing the names on their existing voter lists with HMRC and DWP records. Anyone who can’t be matched is asked to re-register, but this time they also have to provide their National Insurance number and a post code.
Many have re-registered, but nearly two million have not. The government has now brought forward the date upon which those who have not individually registered will drop off the electoral register and lose their vote by one year – against the explicit recommendation of its own independent advisory body, the Electoral Commission.
The nearly two million who have not re-registered will now drop off the register and lose their ability to vote on December 1st 2015.
The government’s decision to bring forward IER by 12 months will have a dramatic impact on next year’s Boundary Review, which will determine the parliamentary constituencies for the next 10 years. The Boundary Commission will use the 1 December electoral register to make its calculations.
Most of those dropping off the register, like those least likely to be on the register in the first place, are already on the margins of society. They are the young, the poor, those who have no home or move regularly from one private rented accommodation to another, and the newcomers for whom English isn’t a first language.
Please ensure that you, everyone in your household and everyone you know is registered to vote. Click on this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If in doubt, re-register. Please spread this message amongst your friends, relatives and networks.
Do not let anyone lose their voice!