#NoVoteNoVoice - Registration roadshow rolls into Newcastle for final stop in the search for missing voters
13 March 2015
WHEN: Sunday 15 March 2015, from 10am until 5pm
WHERE: NEWCASTLE, Grey’s Monument, Grainger Street NE1 5AE
With alarming numbers across the north east dropping off the electoral roll, the campaign to find these missing voters is coming to Newcastle.
On Sunday (15 March) - on the final day of its whistlestop trip around England and Wales and 53 days out from the 2015 general election – the #NoVoteNoVoice roadshow will park up at Grey’s Monument for a mini ‘carnival’ to celebrate voter registration, complete with samba music and free flowers.
In honour of Mother’s Day, which falls on the day the bus rolls into town, a special appeal will be made to mums, asking them to help enthuse the more than nine million UK women who did not vote in 2010’s general election, with a bloom for every mum who registers.
Some 7.5 million people across the UK stand to lose out on the vote that they are entitled to – but the signs are that huge numbers across Newcastle and the north east will be among those missing out.
In Newcastle, some 18,000 people have disappeared from the register, with a frightening 55 per cent drop off in Ouseburn ward where there are 9,852 fewer people on the register than this time last year.
Across the river in Gateshead, there has been a 12,962 decline in the number of voters while down the coast numbers are falling too. In Derwentside, Durham, there are 3,280 fewer people on the roll while in Hull the situation should ring alarm bells with 11,970 fewer people on the register than last year.
To raise awareness of the staggering scale of the region’s registration troubles, the #NoVoteNoVoice double decker - powered by a Daily Mirror, HOPE note hate, Operation Black Vote, Operation Disabled Vote and Unite the union coalition – will spend the day in Newcastle city centre.
According to the NVNV team, patchy promotion of the change away from household to individual registration has caused voter numbers to plummet, which is why the eye-catching bus will be equipped with everything would-be voters need to get registered, including the unique VoteBooster technology that allows voters to check if they are on the roll there and then.
Speaking ahead of the visit to Newcastle, Nick Lowles of HOPE not hate said: “Elections are the life-blood of any democracy so it is a scandal that so many people cannot vote. The government's own figures show that 8.5 million people - 17.7 per cent of all eligible voters - are not registered to vote. And what is worse is that it is those groups who most need a voice - the young, those on lower incomes and minority communities - who are worst affected.”
Ros Wynne-Jones of the Daily Mirror said: “Simply registering sends a message to politicians. It says, if you want to win my vote then you must talk to me and listen to me. People may feel hacked off with political life in this country but our message is ‘don’t sit this out - your vote is your power, use it’.”
Ellen Clifford for Operation Disabled Vote said: “Disabled people remain one of the most marginalised and excluded groups in society and every day barriers to participation include exercising our democratic right to vote. If disabled people want politicians to prioritise the issues that matter most to us then we need to make disabled voter power really count.”
Anthony Curley national coordinator of Unite young members added: “The saying goes that ‘if you vote you get stuff, if you don't you get stuffed’. There’s a worrying trend of young people not engaging with the political process, too many aren’t registering to vote – I fear that may become the habit of a lifetime.”
The NVNV bus’ stop in Newcastle is the conclusion of a 15 day tour of some of England and Wales’ registration blackspots. The tour’s progress around towns and cities as far flung as Hastings and Cardiff, to Manchester and then Newcastle can be found on twitter via #NoVoteNoVoice.
The media are very welcome to visit the bus. If you wish to come along, or need further information, please contact:
HOPE not hate: 020 8133 9560
Operation Disabled Vote: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unite the union: press office 07976 832 861