Time is nearly out to register to vote. Don’t be silenced this election

Sabine McGinley,

Posted on the 25th November 2019

The election is fast approaching: and it’s time to bring the ‘missing millions’ currently not on the electoral roll into the fold. If you aren’t on the register, your voice won’t be heard.

With only a day or so left until the midnight 26th of November deadline to register to vote, there’s good news: there has been a dramatic surge in voting registration, with 2.8m applications since the election was called. But there is still a lot of work to be done.

An estimated 9 million people are still not eligible to vote: young people, ethnic minorities and low incomes are the groups most likely to be left out of the debate. That’s one of many reasons the Electoral Reform Society are calling for a ‘Herculean effort’ to register all of us, including hard to reach groups.

With such seismic decisions to be made for the future of Britain – both domestically and internationally – there’s a lot at stake. And while Westminster’s voting system is out-dated, you have to speak up to change it.

But it’s a shame we have to do these enormous registration drives. The ERS are calling for the introduction of ‘motor voting’ so that people can opt in to vote whenever they engage with public bodies/services. It should be easy to register and check you’re registered.

But today, we have to do all we can to bring in the missing millions before 26th November deadline. That’s why the ERS launched National Voter Registration Day last Friday – a huge success with over 300,000 people applying to register.

As 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.

“After this election, government must commit to updating the system so it works for all of us. The huge gaps in the electoral roll make our democracy less equal and less fair, and we need to put that right.”

Today the ERS and 15 other major charities, campaign groups and academics called for a major pre-deadline push to register. See below:

Joint statement from 16 leading charities, campaigners and experts:

“With millions of people 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. Time is running out.

“As organisations representing a hugely diverse spectrum of society, we believe it is vital this election is built on a fair and universal franchise. That’s why registration is so important: if you’re not on signed up by midnight on November 26th, you can’t have your say.

“We have to end the scandal of the ‘missing millions’. After this election, we call on all parties to commit to updating the system so it works for the whole UK. There are huge gaps in the electoral roll – from young people to BME groups and those on low-incomes: let’s close the gap and move towards automatic registration. In the meantime, we need to see an enormous push to bring in the ‘missing millions’. It’s time to be heard.”  

  • Jess Blair, Electoral Reform Society
  • Jo Hobbs, Chief Executive, British Youth Council
  • Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust
  • Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote
  • Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive LGBT Foundation
  • Zamzam Ibrahim, NUS National President
  • Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race On The Agenda
  • Professor Matt Henn, Nottingham Trent University
  • Dr James Sloam, Democracy and Elections Centre, Royal Holloway
  • Sarah Clarke, Unlock Democracy
  • James Cathcart, Director, Young Voices Heard
  • Cara English, Gendered Intelligence
  • Matt Gillow, TalkPolitics
  • Mete Coban, Chief Executive at My Life My Say
  • Matteo Bergamini, CEO and Founder, ShoutOut UK
  • Areeq Chowdhury, Founder, WebRoots Democracy

That’s a huge coalition for a registration revolution.

But it needs you too. With your help, we can start to close the registration gap – and push for long-term reform to upgrade the rusty system.

You can register to vote online, why not send the link to all your friends and family to make sure they are registered? https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

On Twitter? Tweet why you’ve registered to vote #RegisterToVote

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