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Don’t lose your voice! Lewisham Labour says register to vote today

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Lewisham Labour are calling on the community to register to vote ahead of changes to the electoral role due to be introduced in December.
 
The Tory government is changing how we register to vote. Under the rushed and mishandled reforms, millions of eligible voters face being removed from the electoral register. Under Individual Electoral Registration, each voter will have to register to vote themselves, rather than one person per household under the previous system. One million people across the country look set to disappear from the electoral register on 1 December this year; and that’s on top of the millions more eligible adults already missing from the electoral register.
 
A number of groups are less likely to be registered to vote, including private renters, people from ethnic minority communities, the unemployed and lower-paid manual workers. Whereas 95% of over-65s are on the register, just 70% of 18 to 24-year-olds are. All these groups are less likely to vote Conservative – so it’s not coincidence that they don’t seem bothered about them dropping off the register. 
 
The Conservative government have ignored independent advice to wait until the end of 2016 to fully implement Individual Electoral Registration. In a cynical attempt to rig the system, the Tories are rushing through these changes and then re-drawing constituency boundaries, something that will massively benefit them at the next election.
 
With large BAME communities and a high proportion of private renters and students, it is areas like Lewisham that will be affected the most. Lewisham is an area that already has a lower than expected voter registration and this will get worse, disenfranchising more Lewisham people.
 
Labour is doing its best to ensure both that everyone is able to vote and that the system is fair. This weekend Lewisham Labour will be taking part in a national #MissingMillion campaign day to spread the word and make sure as many people as possible are registered to vote. We’ll be meeting on Saturday 24th Oct at 13:00 at the corner of Laleham Road and Engleheart Road.
 
Lewisham Council is also working hard to ensure that local people are signed up to vote and a working group of councillors and officers has been working on this for months. If you’ve had a letter from the Council about registering to vote, make sure you read it and respond.
 
Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources said "Now that the Tories have brought forward the deadline for the change forward to 1 December this year, there is real risk that tens of thousands of Lewisham residents will not be counted when the number of MPs is next recalculated, meaning that in Lewisham we could unfairly lose an MP and this would weaken our voice in Parliament. It is therefore vital residents to register as quickly as possible."

Cllr Roy Kennedy, Chair of the Electoral Registration Working Group said; 'the decision by the government to bring forward by one year to the December to end the transitional arrangements and remove millions of people nationally and thousands of people locally is a disgrace and is against the advice of the Electoral Commission. Next Tuesday in Parliament we have the opportunity to stop this Tory attack and defeat them on this issue.'

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