Theresa May thinks she’s got rid of millions of voters. But there’s a week to send her a massive fuck you

Support us and go ad-free

Young people could make all the difference in the next general election. But figures released by the Electoral Reform Society warn of a “ticking time-bomb” due to Conservative Party changes to the way people register to vote. And with a week to go before the registration deadline, it’s a timely warning to ensure you and everyone you know retains their right to vote.

System changes

In 2015, the Conservative Party changed the rules on registering to vote. Previously, parents and universities could enroll young people themselves. But the change, known as Individual Electoral Registration (IER) means this is no longer possible. And it could mean that people who think they’re registered to vote have actually been removed from the electoral roll.

Although allegedly designed to combat electoral fraud, the new system can both discriminate against young people and benefit the Tories. And figures show that up to seven million people could be affected. Speaking about the changes in 2015, Shadow Justice Secretary Lord Falconer stated:

The Tories are ignoring the Electoral Commission’s recommendation not to proceed in December 2015 – a decision which risks depriving millions of people of a vote as they fall off the electoral register.

And he claimed that it was:

yet another example of how David Cameron’s government is intent on rigging the game in its favour.

Impact

According to a press release from the Electoral Reform Society, IER is making a difference to the numbers registering. Chief Executive Katie Ghose warns:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

There is a real risk that this election could be one where the registration time bomb goes off – leaving hundreds of thousands without a voice. The collapse in the number of 16 and 17 year olds on the register in 2016 is a warning sign to anyone who cares about political engagement and young people’s stake in our democracy.

Ghose also highlighted that nearly seven million people are either not on the roll or incorrectly registered. And she is urging potential voters to “sign up before it’s too late”:

With just a week to go to register in time for the General Election, it’s vital that the new generation of potential voters – people who may have fallen off the electoral roll since the registration system was changed – sign up before it’s too late.

Hope

But there is hope, and many young people are registering to vote. As The Canary previously reported, in just three days, 103,439 18-to-24-year-olds registered.

And this surge has continued. Importantly, this age group is much more likely to vote Labour. According to polls, Labour has a 19% lead in this age group.

Meanwhile, a poll revealed that 93% of students say they are registered to vote. And student support for Labour has leapt to 55% under Corbyn, according to research from the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and YouthSight. This is a huge increase. Towards the end of Ed Miliband’s leadership in 2015, student support for Labour sat at 35%. Under Tony Blair in 2005, only 23% backed Labour.

There’s a week left – use it!

The deadline to register to vote is Monday 22 May. It can be done online and only takes a few minutes. As Russell Brand explains in this video:

It’s also worth remembering that registering to vote is not enough. The vote needs to be used. In 2015, only 43% of those under 25 voted compared to 78% of those over 65. And analysis shows this discrepancy in the turnout benefited the Tories.

Voting may not necessarily answer your desire for radical change. But not registering to vote only benefits the Tories. This is the party that is dismantling our NHS and selling it off to the highest bidder; wrecking our education system; destroying the lives of disabled people; and slashing benefits for those under 21.

A Tory landslide is not a done deal. If people continue registering and actually use their votes, it could be a very different picture. And the combination could still mean disastrous news for May.

Get Involved!

Register to vote in the 8 June general election.

– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.

– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.

Featured image via Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed