As a snap general election looks increasingly likely amid parliamentary deadlock over Brexit, Unite has called on all those eligible to seize the opportunity – by registering to vote.
The feeling that it doesn’t matter – maybe you believe your vote doesn’t really count anyway – is a pervasive sentiment shared by many among an electorate jaded by Brexit.
But if it is true that there is strength in numbers, then the strongest voice is of those who collectively did not vote last time around.
And the sad truth is that the most marginalised groups in the country — such as working class and Black and ethnic minority (BAME) people — vote at much lower rates than their wealthier, more privileged counterparts.
Unite believes that it is those groups who stand to gain most, but who tend to vote the least, that have the greatest power to swing the next election.
The numbers themselves are stark — in the 2017 election, compared to only 29 per cent of those aged 65 and over, an astonishing 46 per cent of young people aged 18-24 failed to exercise their right to vote.
Similarly, of those in the lowest social class (DE) – the group which has borne the greatest brunt of austerity – 47 per cent stayed at home on election day. Meanwhile, a strong majority – 68 per cent — of those in the highest social class (AB) made their voices heard.
BAME voters, as well as those living in private rented accommodation, also failed to turn out in significant numbers, with nearly half of those eligible to vote in each group forfeiting their democratic right.
“The Tory Party depends on those who don’t support them not voting,” said Unite political director Anneliese Midgley. “If all of those who tend to vote in lower numbers – young people, the working class, those in rented accommodation and BAME people, among others – were to use their vote at the general election, then their interests and their voices could not be ignored.
“But it all starts with registering to vote. At a time when the upcoming general election date is uncertain, we urge people to check that they are registered to vote and if not, to sign up online immediately. It only takes five minutes. Any delay could cost you your vote. Don’t miss out on what will be an historic opportunity to make sure all our voices are heard loud and clear.”
Visit yourvotematters.co.uk to find out more.