With less than 100 days to go until the election, Delyn MP David Hanson has called for people to take part in the second annual National Voter Registration Day on the 5th February 2015.
Mr Hanson has backed the coordinated day of action for businesses, community groups and schools to register thousands of eligible young voters, after changes this year mean a new system means for this election, voters are registered individually.
Under the new system, each eligible voter will have to provide identification in order to verify their application – this will be their date of birth and their National Insurance number. Transitional arrangements have been made to allow data matching against records held by the Department for Work and Pensions to automatically confirm electors on the register during the transition to the new system last year. However, there has been widespread real concern that the new system brought in by the government may lead to a more permanent fall in the level of registration, with young people and those renting in the private sector are especially susceptible to drop off.
In 2010, only 44% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted, while 76% of those aged 65 and over cast their vote. At the moment, only half of all young people are registered to vote. Certain groups are disproportionately under-represented. Only 56% of people living in private rented homes are registered. Nearly half of those not registered to vote mistakenly believe that they are, and with the confusion over the new system Mr Hanson is calling on people to take proactive steps to ensure they are registered and can vote in May.
The event is being held on the 5th of February as it will be exactly 183 years since the Great Reform Act of 1832 introduced voter registration for the first time. Until then the number of eligible voters in a borough varied from six to 12,000, with the selection of some Members of Parliament controlled by one person.
David Hanson MP said:
“It’s vital for our democracy that we have as many eligible people as possible taking part. No matter who people vote for, the election is every individuals chance to have a say in how the country is run and who should represent them in Westminster. People can only vote, and choose which politicians they want to represent Flintshire if they are on the electoral register. So given the government’s changes it’s crucial people ensure they are registered and then they get out and take part in elections to make their voice heard and keep our democracy representative.”