Ed Miliband has today (Fri) warned that young people are in danger of losing their voice and must make themselves heard in this year’s General Election.
The warning came as the Labour Leader launched a drive to register a missing million voters across the UK who have disappeared from the Electoral Register because of government reforms in the last 12 months.
In the North East and Cumbria over 70,000 electors have fallen off the roll. The university towns and city have been particularly hardest hit. Newcastle has seen a decline in 18,111 voters on the electoral roll. Durham City has seen fall of nearly 9,000 voters whilst Sunderland have lost 5,776 electors.
The sharp decline in numbers of young people registered to vote only amplifies a long-term problem which has seen turnout among young people fall dramatically in recent elections. Labour is asking people aged 16 to 35 to tell us their priorities for their generation before the Party publishes a Young Britain manifesto.
New figures, published by the Labour Party, show almost one million people across the country have gone missing from voting rolls in the last year, hundreds of thousands of them young people, as a consequence of the government’s decision to override safeguards and ignore warnings from electoral watchdogs about the hasty introduction of individual registration.
One of the key components of the government’s reforms is that universities and colleges can no longer block register students living in Halls of Residences to vote. And areas that have seen the number of registered voters fall by five figures include such university cities and towns as Newcastle.
Labour is challenging the government, the Electoral Commission, universities and local authorities to address this democratic scandal with urgent action by the end of this month so that people can get back on the register.
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party said:
“In the last year almost one million people have fallen off the Electoral Register, including 70,000 in the North East & Cumbria. This is a direct consequence of the Government’s decision to ignore warning that rushing through new individual registration reforms would damage democracy. It has.
“This is nothing less than a scandal. The Government is sitting by and watching tens of thousands of young people in this region lose their democratic rights.
“But young people must be heard, loud and clear, in this election. That’s why we are determined to do all we can to get young people back on the electoral register, and casting their vote in May.
“So make you sure you have a voice – and then make sure you get heard – because the stakes for your generation are greater than ever.”
Individual Electoral Registration scandal: a million missing voters
• New figures reveal the Tory and Lib Dems’ disastrous reforms to electoral registration mean one million voters have already fallen off the electoral roll.
• For the 373 Local Authorities for which data has been processed, 307 have seen a reduction in the electoral roll. In these Local Authorities 1,016,024 fewer voters are registered in 2015, compared with in 2014.
• Across all the 373 Local Authorities for which data has been processed, there are 950,845 fewer electors than there were in last year’s registers for the same Authorities.
• The new figures confirm the concerns that areas with high student populations and areas with high proportions of residents renting their homes would see a substantial drop in the electoral roll.