Michael Dugher, Member of Parliament for Barnsley East, is warning that millions of people up and down the country are at risk of falling off the electoral register after recent changes to the registration process.
Under the new rules, heads of each household are no longer entitled to register everyone at that address to vote. Instead, individuals will be automatically registered after cross references are made to government databases, but those whose information is not stored are at risk of falling off the register altogether.
Individuals should receive instructions from the local authority in the coming weeks telling residents whether they need to register or not. The process takes around 3 minutes to complete.
Mr Dugher is raising awareness in support of the #NoVoteNoVoice campaign, which aims to encourage more people, especially young people, to engage in politics. The campaign, which is being run by the Daily Mirror, Mass1, the Unite union, Bite the Ballot, and Hope not Hate, aims to persuade an extra 1 million people to register to vote by next year’s General Election in May.
Said Mr Dugher: “With dramatic decreases in the number of people voting, it is more important than ever that people make sure they are registered. In 2010, just 56% of Barnsley’s population turned out to vote, compared with a national average of 65.1%. What is even more alarming is that only 44% of young people voted in 2010. This is a big worry for people up and down the country.
“Every vote is important and could mean the difference between a hung parliament and a majority. Registering to vote and making your voice heard at the ballot box, no matter what age or background you come from, is one of the beast ways to have your say.
“I would urge everyone across Barnsley to look out for their letter from BMBC over the coming weeks and make sure they’re registered to vote’.