Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, and County Durham Furniture Help Scheme urge people not to lose their right to vote.
This week Phil Wilson visited the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme in Chilton, where he encouraged local people to register to vote.
Voter registration drives such as these have been taking place across the country, in a bid to counter the consequences of the Tory’s decision to rush implementation of Individual Electoral Registration. A decision which has been criticised by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Under the new Individual Electoral Registration millions of people will be wiped off the electoral register. That’s on top of the millions of eligible adults already missing.
The Labour Party has been working hard over the past months to register as many people as possible, as part of their Missing Million campaign.
Speaking at the event Phil urged people “Don’t lose the right to vote. It is important that all people have their voice heard not only in Parliament, but in local councils, and in Europe.”
Not being on the electoral register will mean constituents will be unable to elect their MP, their local councillors, and unable to vote in the EU referendum. Under new proposals, not being on the electoral register may also make it harder for people to get a credit card, mobile phone contract, a passport, and people may even be fined £80.
Phil Wilson has slammed the government’s choice of early implementation, “The new rules will disproportionately affect the young. My visit to the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme highlighted just how many young people are not registered to vote. Currently only half of 16-24 are registered, the last thing the Government should be doing is making this process harder.”
Phil added “Those living in poorer communities and in rented accommodation will also be hit hard by the changes to Individual Electoral Registration. As a result the December 1st register, which will be used in the upcoming boundary review, will leave whole communities underrepresented in Parliament.”
Whilst those who register to vote from today onwards will not appear on the December 1st register which will be used for next year’s boundary review, it is vital people continue to register to vote.
Phil said “Over the next 5 years I am going to continue to encourage people to register to vote. The introduction of IER will herald the biggest act of disenfranchisement in our history. It is therefore, vital to we all continue to work to get the missing million back on the register, and encourage the 8 million who have never been on the electoral register to sign up.”
Registering to vote takes 3 minutes. Please register to vote https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.