Tuesday, 18 October 2011

MAKING THE CITIZEN INVISIBLE?

The Government proposes to move away from household registration for voting to individual registration, following a policy developed by the last Government (1). Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party, comments:

“The Green Party supports the principle of Individual Electoral Registration. We wish to ensure that all those entitled to be on the electoral register are included in it. The register is used for many purposes including deciding ward and constituency boundaries, credit ratings and jury service. The change would also appear to be a positive step forward in terms of equalities and emancipation, setting aside the 'head of the household' (2). If electoral registration continues to be used as a basis for the size of constituencies, this could mean increases in constituency size with even less geographical sense than recent suggestions for Kent and Medway. If it is used as a basis for determining allocation of funds for services, then declining registration and diminishing services would become locked together.

“The Electoral Commission believes 10 million people could be lost from electoral registers if the Government changes our voter registration system to voluntary individual voter registration. Today, Canterbury City Council is already missing 23,000 households from its electoral register (3). The legal obligation on everyone to comply with Electoral Registration should be retained.

“The main groups affected are: young people, ethnic minorities and people living in private rented accomodation.
It is crucial registers remain as accurate as possible(4). Do write to your MP to support Early Day Motion: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2187 to modify these proposals.”

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FURTHER INFORMATION: Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party, on 0797 0436 029 or 01622 808370. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe for Kent Green Party, both at 27, Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. KENT GREEN NEWS, monthly free ezine from Kent Green Party is available: subscribe at www.kentgreenparty.org

Notes:

1. Sadiq Khan – a surefire vote loser Guardian 14th October 2011;

2. Who might have had adverse influence upon family members.Stuart Jeffery has been involved, as Policy Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales Executive, in writing the Green Party submission to the consultation on Voter Registration;

3. Kentish Gazette, 6th October 2011;

4. Unlock Democracy: http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/page/speakout/ier-consultation?js=false SEE ALSO: The Electoral Commission's written evidence on Individual Electoral Registration to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmpolcon/writev/1463/ea10.htm It has also provided further information on a regularly update page: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/elections/voter-registration/individual-electoral-registration The Electoral Reform Society's position on Individual Electoral Registration can be seen at: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/IVR/

5. Full text of Early Day Motion: “That this House recognises that currently there are between 3.5 to 6.5 million electors missing off the UK electoral register, that individual registration proposed by the Government is the biggest change on electoral matters since the introduction of the universal franchise and that proposed changes include the removal of the duty of the individual to return their electoral registration form and the subsequent liability to a fine of £1,000 and prosecution; notes that, according to the Electoral Commission, if these proposed changes are not implemented properly there could possibly over time be a reduction in registration rates from 92 per cent. to 60 per cent., that this would leave potentially 18 million unregistered voters, that this would have an impact on other civic functions including the ability of a political party to communicate with the electorate, the ability for an individual to gain credit and the ability of the jury system to function properly; further notes that the profile of the unregistered is that they live in social and rented housing, many are from black and ethnic minority communities and that they are young, many are already the most marginalised in society and will be further politically marginalised by deregistration; and calls on the Government to reconsider its current proposals that will lead to large scale deregistration.”

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