Sharon has welcomed a cross-party, multi-organisation campaign led by Bite The Ballot to increase voter registration the same week that Labour Party figures show that over 1200 electors in Washington and Sunderland West have dropped off the electoral register – a percentage total of 1.8%.
This drop off is down to the current Conservative Government’s plans which brought forward by 12 months the full implementation of Individual Voter Registration (IER), which took place on December 1st 2015. These figures come the same week as Bite The Ballot’s ‘National Voter Registration Drive 2016’- a cross-party, multi-organisation campaign to increase voter registration.
Labour support the move to IER, but opposed the decision to bring forward the implementation due to concerns that earlier implementation would lead to a large number of people falling off the register and instead called for a transitional period with strong safeguards that would have mitigated against any damage to the electoral register.
Late last year, Labour led a national campaign to highlight the changes and make sure people were registered to vote register ahead of the move to IER last December and has called on the Government to issue guidance to make it easier for universities, local authorities, electoral registration offices and other Government agencies to work together to ensure no-one is disenfranchised from voting in elections.
In reaction to the drop off figures, Sharon said:
“It is concerning that in Washington and Sunderland West there has been a drop of over 1200 electors from the electoral register, which included as part of the national picture marks the biggest disenfranchisement in our history.
“Labour opposed the plans to bring forward the changes to voter registration for these exact reasons, and campaigned at the end of last year to make sure people were registered to vote and instead wanted to see a transitional period with strong safeguards to mitigate against this drop-off.
“With local elections coming up in May along with an expected EU Referendum in the summer it is important, now more than ever, that people are registered to vote and don’t lose out on exercising their democratic right and I welcome the week-long voter registration drive being led by Bite The Ballot to ensure people can cast their vote on polling day.”
Make sure you are registered to vote by visiting the gov.uk website here.
It only takes a few minutes and all you need is your National Insurance Number.