One million people have fallen off the electoral roll since the government changed the way we register to vote back in September. Many won’t even know.
If you’re a one in the million then you’ll miss out in the most important election in our times.
But there’s still time to make sure that get your vote. The cut-off date for registration is 20 April. That gives you 20 days from today to sign up.
The good news is that you can now register online. It takes just minutes using Unite’s Votebooster tool. Go to http://votebooster.org/register/unite. All you need is your National Insurance number (find it on your payslip!).
Your vote is your power. When you don’t use it, you’re easier for politicians to ignore. Nine million women did not vote in 2010 and have been hardest hit by the coalition’s welfare and tax cuts, with 70 per cent falling on them.
Over half of young people also stayed away from the polls last time, so the coalition put older voters first — hiking university tuition fees, axing the Education Maintence Allowance (EMA) and shutting youth clubs.
Veteran anti-austerity campaigner Harry Leslie Smith summed it up perfectly when he said: “If you don’t vote, your future will be handed to the 1 per cent.”
Hardworking families and the most vulnerable in our society have been ill-served by this government. Five years of austerity have caused misery to millions. Any government that doles out tax cuts to the rich when foodbank use has soared by a shocking 163 per cent is out-of-touch with the lives of ordinary people struggling with the worst cost of living crisis in living memory.
Now is the time to ‘seize your destiny’, as Harry said when he addressed a packed crowd at the University of Manchester last month (March 11).
He added: “This will be the only opportunity to turn things around before it’s too late. Too many people are suffering today in the country. They’re being ignored because of the mere fact that they’re poor, and no one’s listening to them. Austerity has cut their lifestyles, when they’re living standards should have been increasing.”
There’s no denying that voter apathy and low election turnout are serious problems in British politics today. After all, only 65 per cent of the electorate voted at the last general election – but it wasn’t our experience when we went on the road.
Over 15 days, the #NoVoteVoice roadshow travelled across England and Wales in a red double-decker bus registering missing voters. We met some amazing people, from workers at the Ty-phoo tea plant in the Wirral to students at Manchester University. Listen to what they had to say and be inspired to vote on 7 May:
(See more here).
But we don’t just need you to register — we need your friends, family and work colleagues registered too. So please spread the word. Go to the Unite website to download a campaign pack and start registering colleagues in your workplace.
Don’t think you can get to the polls on 7 May? Then apply for a postal vote. You can download the form to apply by post here. Completed forms needed to be posted to your local electoral registration office before the 21 April deadline.