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Don’t Lose Your Right to Vote

Originally published in Bromsgrove Standard, 30 October 2015.

Westminster Diary: Don’t Lose Your Right to Vote

Under changes introduced by the Government, thousands of people across Birmingham and West Mercia could lose their right to vote unless they individually re-register.

Last year, the UK moved from the old household survey method of electoral registration to a new method of individual registration. This means that from December 2015, many people that who have not re-registered and provided a National Insurance number will be taken off the electoral register.

As well as disenfranchising an estimated 10 million citizens from next year’s local elections, these people will therefore also not be counted when the new Parliamentary and council ward boundaries are drawn up. That process could start as early as next year.

The registers with the largest predicted drop off tend to be in urban areas with a high incidence of multiple occupancy housing, regular home movers and large numbers of historically low propensity registering voters. According to Unite the union, Birmingham could lose up to 7.7% of its electorate. Readers will know that there are areas around Bromsgrove that could also be hit. The reality is that we are in danger of an electoral map in the region that does not represent the people who live here.

Make sure you don’t miss out. Please don’t just assume you are registered to vote if you have not personally completed a form recently.

It’s actually really easy to register in a few minutes at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. All you need is your National Insurance number.

As a Labour MP, of course I want people to vote Labour. But making sure our democracy works means ensuring everyone is on the register, whoever they may vote for. That is why Labour has launched the #MissingMillions campaign encouraging people to re-register themselves and to remind friends and family to do so to.

If you would like to support our efforts in the Bromsgrove and South Birmingham areas please get in touch. Email me at richard.burden.mp@parliament.uk.

Richard Burden is MP for Birmingham Northfield and Labour’s new Strategic Transport Minister.