TODAY: National Voter Registration Day declared as civil society groups launch huge drive

Posted on the 22nd November 2019

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society – Friday 22nd Contact [email protected] / 07717211630

Campaigners have declared Friday 22nd (00:01) ‘National Voter Registration Day’ and are urging civil society groups, campaigners and citizens to pull out all the stops.

Spearheaded by the ERS, the day is now backed by organisations including the British Youth Council, Runnymede Trust, NUS, as well as youth organisations, LGBT groups and experts.

The groups have also thrown their weight behind the #VoterRegChallenge, where people say why they’re voting in a video, tell people how they can #RegisterToVote, and nominate three people to do the same (all in under 15 seconds).

There has been a large uptake in people registering to vote since the election was officially called, with around two million applications submitted between October 29 and November 19 [1].

However, more than nine million people are understood to be missing from the electoral roll [2] – meaning an enormous effort must be made to ‘bring in the missing millions’ according to the ERS.

Previous National Voter Registration Days (organised by Bite the Ballot) have been highly successful. However, with Bite the Ballot winding down the ERS say there is a urgent need for civil society to work together.

It takes 5 minutes to register to vote online: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The deadline is 11:59pm on Tuesday November 26th.

The ERS are calling for moves towards ‘automatic registration’, allowing people to register whenever they engage with public bodies/services.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“With millions missing from the electoral roll, it’s time to pull out all the stops and ensure everyone can have their say on December 12th. It takes just 5 minutes to register and it’s vital if you’re not already signed up that you do so. We’re proud to declare this Friday National Voter Registration Day and we call on everyone to get on board.

“We have to end the scandal of the ‘missing millions’ and ensure a truly universal franchise. After this election, government must commit to updating the system so it works for all of us. There are huge gaps in the electoral roll – from young people to BME groups and those on low-incomes. That makes our democracy unequal and more unfair, and we need to put that right through moving to universal voter registration.”

More information here: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/how-do-you-register-to-vote-and-when-do-you-have-to-do-it-by/

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.gov.uk/performance/register-to-vote

[2] The ERS’s calls led to editorials from the Independent and the Scotsman earlier this week https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/general-election-register-to-vote-deadline-how-date-a9208331.html  and https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/the-one-thing-we-all-should-do-now-ahead-of-the-most-important-election-in-a-generation-leader-comment-1-5049008
https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/voter-registration-herculean-effort-needed-to-close-registration-gap-in-final-week/

Stats on the registration gap here: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/millions-missing-from-the-electoral-register-in-event-of-snap-election/

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