A campaign has been launched to encourage more young, ethnic minority and Londoners in rented accommodation to register to vote and so increase the capital’s voter registration level as a whole.
London Voter Registration Week, which is funded and co-ordinated by the Greater London Authority, will involve a social media campaign and a range of civil society organisations across the city seeking to reach groups of Londoners under-represented on its electoral roll.
The project, which begins today, is a joint initiative with Shout Out UK, a youth-focussed social enterprise whose activities include promoting political literacy, in collaboration with the London Voter Registration Strategic Partnership (LVRSP), which includes the Electoral Commission and the London Association of Electoral Administrators.
Only 72% of eligible Londoners aged under 24 are registered to vote compared with 97% of the city’s over-65s, according to a GLA survey conducted last year. The same survey found that 83% of black Londoners of all ages are registered compared with 94% of white British Londoners. And while 93% of resident homeowners are registered, only 85% of social renters and 86% of private renters are.
The GLA cites Cabinet Office data to state that that “London has one of the lowest voter registration rates across the UK”. A 2019 Cabinet Office paper put London’s rate at 85%.
In March last year, Sadiq Khan approved expenditure of £100,000 for a pilot registration project, following discussion with the leaders of the different London Assembly political groups. This anticipated the formation of the LVRSP and set objectives for the pilot, which included 50,000 16-24-year-olds becoming newly-registered to vote.
Prominent supporters of London Voter Registration Week include National Union of Students president Larissa Kennedy, Redbridge Youth Parliament member Faizan Ahmed, Young Citizens chief executive Tom Franklin and City Sikhs chair Jasvir Singh.
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