Encouraging people to register to vote has been one key focus of my Bedminster campaigning activity this week. This included handing out hundreds of cards to students and passers-by with information on how to register to vote at the University of West of England’s Bower Ashton campus on Friday. Maximising the number that register to vote and then convincing them that there is something/someone worth actually voting for is crucial to our democracy.
The Tory Government’s changes to voter registration are taking effect. According to council data 316,414 people were registered to vote in Bristol last December. This is 2,726 lower than the 319,140 people on the register the year before. Government policy meant the council removed 6,857 people because they had not successfully got on to the new system (Individual Electoral Registration), under 2500 of which had moved away.
The council’s electoral services department has worked hard to keep as many on the register as possible, so the situation could have been even worse. The fall is numbers registered is still bad news for our democracy, thus the Greens action. Those in temporary accommodation or who are not permanently based in Bristol, such as students and homeless people are particularly at risk of not being registered so Greens are using their volunteer base to help tackle this. You can register to vote here.