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Friday, 16 January 2015

Parliament says "No" on promoting Voter Registration

Parliament has rejected a proposal to project an image onto Big Ben of a vote going into ballot box to draw attention to National Voter Registration Day on February 5th. Graham Allen MP Chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee had proposed this to encourage those millions of citizens who have not yet registered to vote. The proposal was rejected by the Administration Committee without explanation. 

It is currently estimated that 7.5 million people are not correctly registered to vote. This number has risen significantly since 2000 where it was estimated that the figure was 3.9 million.

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee has recently published a Report on Voter Engagement in the UK, including a consultation on how parliament can improve voter engagement, including votes at 16,on-line voting, compulsory voting, registration up to polling day and ironically making Parliament more relevant and in-touch. Thousands of people have responded and got involved with the 

Commenting Graham Allen said "One part of Parliament, through my Select Committee, has produced a great report with lots of ideas and received thousands of consultations from the public, but it seems that there are still parts of Parliament that just don't get it.This decision to not approve a projection is a bad signal, it makes it look as though some parts of Parliament are run by "old farts" who do not want to play their full part in that most fundamental democratic right that of registering people to vote."

"With more people not voting than voted for both main parties added together in 2010, our democracy is in crisis. We need new and exciting ways to encourage people to register to vote. Parliament needs to lead by example and show even symbolically that our institution is serious about this major problem." Mr Allen added.