Andrew Gwynne MP has called on Tameside and Stockport residents to register to vote on February 5th, Voter Registration Day, following figures showing that 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 compared to 96% of those aged over 65.
This problem will not be helped by the Government rushing through proposals to introduce a new system of electoral registration. The new system, Individual Electoral Registration, risks millions falling off the register – especially the young, students, some minority ethnic communities and private renting tenants.
At the moment, electoral registration is based on an annual household survey. A canvass form is sent to each household by the local council each year and a single householder is required to complete and return the form on behalf of anyone else who lives in the household and who is eligible to vote. Under Individual Electoral Registration, each person will have to register separately.
Mr Gwynne has written to the Tameside and Stockport Electoral Registration Officers asking what plans they have to ensure every eligible citizen is encouraged to vote.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“We must try and do better. The electoral register performs a hugely important civic function. You can only vote, and choose the politicians who represent you, if you are on the register.
“It also ensures citizens are properly counted for the drawing of political boundaries – by ward and constituency – meaning the voice of Tameside and Stockport is heard. For our criminal justice system, the register enables selection for jury service.
“Nearly half of those not registered to vote mistakenly believe that they are. On 5th February, call your local Electoral Registration Office and check. If you aren’t registered, ask them to sign you up.”
You can contact the Tameside Electoral Registration Office on 0161 342 3036, and the Stockport Electoral Registration Office at 0161 217 6026 or firstname.lastname@example.org