Image: Your Vote Matters
Good morning; this is the news at 14.19pm. As you may have heard from the big bad mainstream media, the electoral register is in a state of metamorphosis (the biggest change in voter registration in almost 100 years), changing from a household register to an individual register.
The old rickety moth-eaten system for voter registration was that one person in your household would write down all the details of those who are eligible to vote, and like a good upstanding responsible citizen, they’d send it off to the council on the household’s behalf.
Obviously letters are like, so last century. In this brave new digital world, the internet is the place to be. The new system is individual electoral registration (IER), which can be completed online. Not only will this save the trees and the planet blah blah etc whatever, but it will be an easier way for those young whippersnappers to register. One of the slices of society that are under-registered are young people (under 35s) and they bloody love a YouTube comment war on a Thursday evening, so registering online is a sterling way of engaging them. My generation might have been dismissed because of our microscopic attention spans and our selfie sticks, but behind our duck faces are electro-charged high voltage eligible voters’ brains, ready to hold the powers that be by the scruff of the neck and give them a piece of our mind, by quietly and peacefully voting.
So it’s a change for the better, but it isn’t all rainbows and lollipops. When the switch happens, if you haven’t registered, then you’re out of the game. Your name will get crossed off the electoral register in big black marker over and over again until the paper turns to pulp and it makes a hole where your name used to be. So making double triple sure you’re on that register before the deadline should be number one on your To Do list.
The switch to IER was going to take place in December 2016, which would have given the independent Electoral Commission plenty of time to roll up their sleeves, knock on doors and have a well-deserved nag at us to register.
However, the Ministers have lawfully (but not very helpfully) moved forward the switch to December 2015.
I know many of you may be trying to ignore the fact that December is only 2 months away for financial reasons, but that is a shockingly short amount of time to make sure the entire country’s electoral register is fixed up and looking sharp.
Everyone will get a handy letter from their council informing them what to do, which you might have already received. Most people will be switched to the new register automatically, so if you were registered for the last election and you haven’t moved home since, you’re golden.
But around 1.9 million people might be deleted from the register, and that just isn’t cricket.
The people that are under-registered are young’uns, private renters, home-movers, people in social housing, black and minority ethnic groups, the unemployed, students and EU citizens. All of us are greatly affected by government policy, so of course we all need to be using our votes. Voting is voice-activated power: it doesn’t work if you don’t speak up.
Folks who are less likely to vote include young people, people strapped for cash & those who don’t own their own home. I’m all three! That’s a hat-trick. Image: Your Vote Matters
Some people say they don’t vote because it won’t make a difference. According to the Electoral Commission’s vast spreadsheets, 33.7% of the electorate didn’t vote last May, which is more than the amount of people who voted for the current government (24.5%). That 33.7% is more powerful than the Queen and all her corgis put together, so getting these people engaged before sleigh bells start ringing this year is paramount.
So, if you haven’t registered yet, go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or forever hold your peace.