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Take Action: Voter Registration
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A new system of individual voter registration is being introduced in 2014.
Individual voter registration is supported by all the main parties and will make it much easier to prevent voting fraud. Unfortunately, the way the government is planning to implement it is causing concern and could leave as many as 10 million people excluded from the political process.
There are two big problems with the government’s plans, quietly published over the summer. They plan to drop the full annual canvass in 2014 as a cost-cutting exercise. The Electoral Commission warns that this alone could result in 2-3 million people unregistered.
The government is also proposing to scrap the legal obligation for people to provide their local Electoral Registration Officer with information; essentially people will be able to drop off the electoral map.
With only 65% of registered voters actually casting their vote in the last general election, this change in the law will inevitably make it harder for local authorities and political parties to engage with those groups who are already under-represented. Together with the scrapping of the canvass, this could lead to up to 10 million fewer people on the register, predominantly young people, people living in privately rented accommodation and members of ethnic minorities.
Combine this with the controversial new system of boundary reviews and it becomes even more toxic; some of the most deprived and alienated voters will be left without proper representation at all. It would also adversely affect the jury system and impact on individuals’ credit ratings.
The voting system leaves enough people out in the cold as it is without the registration system making things worse. We can’t let these proposals become law without significant changes. A number of MPs have already voiced their concerns; we’d like you to write to your MP and ask them to add their voice by writing to Cabinet Office Minister Mark Harper and by signing “Early Day Motion 2187: Impact of Individual Voter Registration” (an Early Day Motion is a type of petition that MPs can add their name to to express an opinion about an issue).
If we take swift action now, we can prevent these plans from being introduced. It only takes a couple of minutes to write using our online tool so make sure you do so today.