18 November 2015
Exeter’s Young Greens are leading efforts to get young people in Exeter to register to vote or face being turned away at the polling station.
The push comes following government changes to the registration system which means everyone living in a property must now sign up to the electoral register individually. Prior to last year, the system allowed one household member to sign up everyone living at the property. The Government’s own independent expert body recommended a transition period to the new process but the Conservative Government plans a switch to the new system from December, one year earlier than originally planned. At least 10 million people nationwide will need to re-confirm their details. The new system means people that local authorities have not been able to match with tax or benefit records and who have not re-registered and provided a National Insurance number will be taken off the electoral register.
Members of Young Greens, the youth wing of the Green Party, are particularly concerned this will affect young people. Joe Levy, convenor of Exeter Young Greens said:
“There’s been a 48% decline in 16-17 year olds joining the register over the past year. This means that only a quarter of 16-17 year-olds are on the electoral register. Young people need to have their voices heard, like everyone else and if they aren’t registered they will not be able to vote when they turn 18.”
Kay Powell, of Exeter University Green Party Society said:
“We’re pleased that Exeter University Guild are ensuring first year students have clear information about how to register to vote, but after the first year many students don’t register themselves. These rushed changes will exclude people, especially young people, exercising their democratic right. While voting is only one aspect of political engagement, it is none-the-less, a critical part of our democratic process.
“Let's make sure that everyone has the chance to vote, then ensure they're offered a fair voting system, and inspirational new policies that inspires people to vote."
People who think they are not registered can do so online here https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Find out more: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/voter-registration-report/
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