Ensure Your Voice is Heard – Check You Are Registered to Vote


I know how fed up people are about the way Governments and Councils behave. Sometimes it seems like politicians are all show, talking a different language and not listening to what people are saying to us. I have always tried to be a different kind of politician – taking up the issues that matter to local people and giving residents a say in the decisions that matter to you.

So I am really worried about the changes the Government have been making to the electoral system, which may mean millions of people are not able to vote in the General Election May 2015. Under the new rules individuals are no longer allowed to register other people in their house to vote. That means every member of a shared house has to add themselves individually to the electoral role, and parents will no longer be able to sign up adult children.

The Government say they are “cracking down” on electoral fraud, but the predictions are that this will hit a lot of genuine voters too. It will have damaging impact in places high student population or a large proportion of British people from ethnic minority backgrounds. It will hit those who move house frequently, and for the elderly and frail who need help registering to vote. Already, registration and voter turnout is usually lower in poorer areas than more affluent ones. If even fewer people who struggle to make ends meet financially now register because of these changes, it could skew the results in close-fought constituencies. At a time when many people are cynical about politics, the Government should not be rushing through changes which threaten to mean less people having a say in our democracy.

And it’s making a bad situation worse. The Conservative-led Government have already rolled over the electoral register from 2010 – which was missing 7.5 million voters. These new changes could mean another 5.5 million people shut out of the system. The voter turnout at the last General Election in Northfield was just 58%. How can the Government justify reforms which could make this number even lower?

Local people have a big Choice to make next May – between a Government who just looks out for a few, or a Labour Government who are committed to invest in our NHS; to raise the minimum wage; to boost apprenticeships and improve opportunities for young people, and to build 200,000 much-needed homes a year.

Unless you are registered to vote, you will not be able to choose the Government who will run our country for the next five years.

So please check you are on the electoral roll by contacting Birmingham City Council’s Elections Office via:

Post: Elections Office, The Council House, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Phone:  0121 303 2731

Email: elections@birmingham.gov.uk.

If you find that you are not registered to vote, you can do so by:

Registering online at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Registering by Post: Download this form, and post a completed version to the Elections Office, The Council House, Birmingham, B1 1BB.


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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.