Jeremy Corbyn will call on the UK’s nine million unregistered voters to sign up to vote today as Labour embarks on “the biggest voter registration drive that our country has ever seen”.
The party is supporting a campaign alongside celebrities, party members, campaign groups and trade unions aiming to get people registered to vote before the deadline on November 26th.
The #RegisterToVote hashtag will be used throughout ‘National Voter Registration Day’ on Friday, and activists will post videos explaining why they are voting, with the aim of encouraging others to sign up.
It is estimated that over nine million people are missing from the electoral roll or not registered at their current address. Labour says it “wants to increase national turnout and ensure that everyone has a chance to have their say on December 12th”.
At a campaign stop in Stoke, Corbyn is expected to say: “This is the most important election for a generation. To achieve real change, I’m calling on people to take just five minutes to get registered so they can make sure that their voice is heard.
“Over nine million eligible voters are still not registered to vote – that’s one sixth of the voting population. That’s why today we are supporting national voter registration day. We want to make the next five days the biggest voter registration drive that our country has ever seen.”
Both in his closing statement during the first televised debate and towards the end of the manifesto launch on Thursday morning, the Labour leader took the opportunity to call on people to register to vote.
Changes to voter registration in 2014 led to almost one million names coming off the electoral roll. Further changes were made last month that would remove the requirement for councils to canvass all homes every year to sign up votes – instead, they would only contact people in some homes electronically.
Recently released data from the Electoral Commission show that only 6% of eligible pensioners are not registered to vote – compared with one in three teenagers. Non-registration of eligible voters stands at 32% and 26% for 20-24 and 25-34 year-olds respectively.
The figures also reveal that 25% of eligible black voters in the UK are not registered to vote, along with 24% of Asian voters and 31% of people with mixed ethnicity. The nationwide average for those not registered to vote is 17%.
But there has been a surge in registration to vote since the election was called, with a total of 2,048,039 applications submitted between October 29th and November 19th. Only 1.1 million people had signed up to vote 23 days into the 2017 general election campaign.
More than a third of the recent applications – 35% – have come from people under the age of 25. 737,775 18-24 year-olds have registered, compared to 368,965 in the equivalent period at the last general election.