Missing MillionsMay 1st, 2012
Over the last few months Movement for Change has been working to sign-up the quarter of a million unregistered voters across London.
The last mayoral election was won by Boris and the depressingly cynical ‘doughnut’ strategy which relied on low turnout amongst inner city Londoners and high turnout in the suburbs. The margin of his eventual victory was 150 thousand votes while hundreds of thousands stayed at home or were simply not able to vote.
Nationally the Tory strategy is the same: to win by what the Reverent Jesse Jackson used to call ‘the margin of despair.’ Already boundaries for the people who represent our voices in Parliament have been redrawn to exclude the 6 million people who are not registered to vote. Their citizenship deemed to carry less weight than those who remembered to return the form to their local registration office.
Those unregistered tend to be the people who need labour politics the most. Once under-registration of voters lost Labour seats in elections, today under registration has meant fewer seats in Parliament for the most disadvantaged in society. Once the battle was for everyone to have the vote. Today the battle is for everyone’s votes to be counted equally.
We need a new approach to voter registration. We can’t just knock on doors and expect people who have become disillusioned to suddenly believe in politics. The process of registration needs to involve listening to the reasons they don’t feel we speak for them and acting on them. That is why Movement for Change has been partnering local parties with community groups in the areas of lowest registration to build community registration campaigns, not just Labour registration campaigns.
Movement for Change is now taking the campaign national, and making it a permanent part our their work. If you are interested in running a voter registration campaign in your area, please get in touch.