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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Voter registration changes threaten our democracy

On National Voter Registration Day the Green Party are urging people to check they are registered to vote at the May 7th 2015 General Election. Recent electoral registration changes, put through by the Coalition government, mean all individuals in a household have to register individually. Before these changes, students in halls of residences were automatically registered in bulk.

New research has shown that 80% of local authorities are suffering a decline in voter registration, with the drop mostly occurring in university towns. The Electoral Commission has said that 30% of people aged 18-24 have not registered to vote yet.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader of England and Wales, said: "Statistics emerging from many areas on levels of voter registration give real cause for concern. There's a danger that we could see significant numbers of people turning up to vote on May 7th 2015 and finding that they have been disenfranchised by not being registered. That would be seriously damaging to our democracy. Today is an important day on which I hope the media, institutions such as universities and colleges, and community groups will be launching a concerted effort to rectify the problem."

"Everyone involved in politics has a responsibility to make sure voters can have their say. The Young Greens and local Green parties are working hard on this issue, and I'd urge everyone, whatever their politics, to do the same." Ms Bennett added.

The Green Party is currently one of the most popular parties among 18 to 24 year olds. A poll today by YouGov shows in the Greens are comfortably in third place ahead of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats in 18-24 age group. The same poll shows the total collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote among the 18-24 age group, registering at just 1%. Polling also by YouGov has also suggested that new members of the Green party are very likely to be coming from amongst young people.