On 1 December 2015, if this Tory Government gets its way, as many as two million people will drop off the electoral register. It will be the biggest disenfranchisement in British history.
They will join the 8 million people already missing from the electoral register.
That’s 10 million people – 1 in 5 of all eligible adults – who won’t be on the register, and who won’t be able to vote. That’s also 20% of the eligible population who won’t be taken into account when the Parliamentary boundary changes the Tories are rushing through are put into effect.
These are politically motivated changes. And here in Leeds NW we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure they have as little impact on our democracy as possible.
Make sure you do your bit to stop a national scandal.
The Government has changed the way we register to vote – changes which began this year – known as Individual Electoral Registration (IER). But the Tories have now brought forward the full implementation of the new registration method – by 12 months – to 1 December 2015.
This is against the advice of the independent election watchdog, the Electoral Commission.
Why the rush? Simple – it’s politically motivated. Next year will see a Boundary Review, which will determine the parliamentary constituencies at the next General Election. That same Boundary review will reduce the number of parliamentary seats from 650 to 600.
And the Boundary Review will be based on the electoral register as it stands on 1 December – precisely the date that almost 2m people drop off the register.
In his speech to Labour conference, Jeremy Corbyn called this “gerrymandering” and he is not wrong. The Tories are trying to rig the register to strike off people who will never vote for them.
The changes – on top of the huge number of people already missing from the register – will hit cities especially hard. They will hit areas like Headingley where there are highly mobile populations – of students or tenants – hardest of all.
Is it coincidence that it is precisely these groups and areas which are least likely to vote Tory?
So what can you do about it?
First – make sure you are registered yourself, and encourage everyone you know to register.
You can register to vote here http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Register-to-vote.aspx
Second – join us in our voter registration campaign here in Leeds North West.
We’ll be working hard to encourage voters to register from now on.
We have our first registration street stall from 10.30 a.m. to 12 on Saturday 17 October at the Arndale Centre Headingley – followed by doorstep work encouraging registration.
Headingley will be one of the worst-hit areas in Leeds.
The integrity of our democracy is at stake.
Councils have made great strides to register people over the past year but there is a lot more work to be done.
So please help us.
Let’s get to work to ensure our communities are properly represented on the electoral register.
Let’s get to work to make democracy real.