• 6 in 10 Londoners are not aware of the forthcoming photo ID requirement in order to vote and one in 10 does not hold a form of approved photo voter ID specified in the Elections Act 2022
  • Three in 10 young Londoners are not registered to vote, and under-represented communities are less likely to be registered and more likely to be marginalised further when voting system
    changes are made in 2024
  • London Voter Registration Week 2022 and the GLA Voter ID public awareness campaign will
    support under-represented and under-registered Londoners to have their voices heard with the backing of a broad, cross-London coalition

The Greater London Authority (GLA) and Shout Out UK (SOUK) have launched a campaign to help London’s under-registered and under-represented communities register to vote as figures show that one in 10 Londoners are at risk of losing their democratic voice when changes are made to voting requirements, while three in ten young Londoners (aged 16 to 24) are not currently registered to vote.

In its fourth year, London Voter Registration Week is raising awareness about who can vote and how to do it, including the option to register anonymously for those concerned about their name and address appearing on the electoral register.

The campaign, which is supported by all London boroughs and more than 150 civil society organisations and educational institutions, will promote the benefits of being registered to London’s diverse communities, from the impact on your credit score to ensuring Londoners have a say in decisions impacting them, their local communities, city, country and the planet.

London has one of the lowest voter registration rates across the UK, with three in 10 young Londoners (aged 16-24) not registered to vote. Young Londoners, alongside Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and migrant Londoners, including Commonwealth and EU Londoners; and social and private renters are already the most under-registered and under-represented groups. Many of these Londoners are also deaf and disabled and on low incomes.

These under-registered and under-represented Londoners have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis, and are at a higher risk of losing their vote when the impact of the Elections Act 2022, the introduction of photo voter ID requirements and the removal of voting rights from some EU Londoners is felt in May 2024, when the next London elections will be held.

Stats show:

  • More than half a million Londoners do not possess a passport
  • More than 2.6m Londoners do not have a full driving licence, with women less likely to have one
  • Only around one in five (18 per cent) of disabled Londoners would be able to present a Freedom Pass as ID, if required
  • One in five Black Londoners and one in three EU Londoners are not registered to vote and risk
    being disproportionately impacted by these voting system changes
  • 12 per cent of LGBTQI+ people do not own any usable photo ID, with nearly two in five trans people and more than one-third of non-binary individuals having previously experienced problems getting their ID accepted
  • An estimated 1.7m low-income adults across the UK are at risk of losing their democratic voice due to difficulties in securing a photo ID

Further polling commissioned by the GLA and carried out by YouGov also shows that:

  • 61 per cent of Londoners are not aware of the forthcoming photo ID requirement in order to vote
  • The third who are aware comprises just 13 per cent who are knowledgeable about which forms of ID will be accepted and 20% who are not
  • Black (30 per cent) and other/mixed Londoners are less aware (27 per cent) of the requirement, and Londoners born in the EU are slightly less likely to be aware than those born in the UK (34 per cent compared to 29 per cent)
  • Londoners on lower household incomes (particularly those under £20k) are less likely to be aware — this is seen most strikingly by social grade, where 38 per cent of ABC1 Londoners are aware compared to 25 per cent of C2DE Londoners
  • When asked what forms of ID respondents hold, polling revealed one in 10 Londoners (11 per cent) does not hold a form of approved photo voter ID specified in the Elections Act (2022)
  • Close to 1 in 5 Londoners aged under 25 say that they do not hold an approved ID (19 per cent)

London Voter Registration Week (14 – 20 November) is coinciding with UK Parliament Week. Borough councils and the coalition of civil society organisations will share resources online and in their networks in more than 25 languages to stress the importance and encourage voter registration, while Shout Out UK and education partners from across London will run more than 25 in-person drives in schools, colleges and at university freshers’ fairs.

Over the last two years, the GLA and its partners have contributed to the voter registration of more than 75,000 people and have reached more than 1.4 million Londoners.

Building on this success and the impartial broad partnership, the GLA will run a public awareness campaign next year in collaboration with the Electoral Commission, all London borough councils, a broad civil society coalition and Shout Out UK to address the equalities impact of the Elections Act and ensure that no eligible Londoner is denied their civic and democratic rights. It is also launching a grants programme aimed at community-led organisations to help reach Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and migrant Londoners, including EU Londoners; young Londoners aged 16-24; deaf and disabled Londoners; LGBTQI+ Londoners; older Londoners; and social and private renters.

Matteo Bergamini, CEO/ Founder, Shout Out UK:

‘Democracy is not guaranteed. All the rights we enjoy today had to be fought for at some point in our collective history. This is why I am honoured that for the third year running Shout Out UK, the organisation I launched at 22, is yet again teaming up with the Greater London Authority to launch London Voter Registration Week 2022. Building on the amazing work done in
prior years which was recognised by the EU Digital Citizenship Working Group & Meta’s latest report,
showing that every voice in London matters. Democracy is precious; it’s fragile and requires everyone.
Remember: if you don’t do politics, politics will do you, so register to vote.’

Ange Levesque, Teacher, UCL Academy:

‘At a time when voter numbers are falling, at UCL Academy we are especially focused on ensuring our young people are engaged in all aspects of civic life, including ensuring they exercise their right to vote. Being part of London Voter Registration Week activities is a central part of our program.’

Fabrice Lyczba, The Baobab Centre:

‘At the Baobab Centre we form a community of support for some of
the most marginalised young people in the UK — young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees. In fact, most do not even have the right to vote, and won’t get it before they’re granted citizenship — a very distant dream for the vast majority. But with or without the right to vote, our young people already are citizens of their communities here, and we want them to start feeling the empowerment that comes with voting. London Voter Registration Week 2022 will help us engage in a conversation with them that will surely resonate in their constructions of resilience and belonging in the UK.’

Jacky Peacock OBE, Head of Policy, Advice for Renters:

‘Most people renting from a private landlord have little security and can be asked to move any time after the first six months. It’s not surprising then that many don’t bother to register to vote, because they may have moved on before the next elections. But registering to vote is now more important than ever. It only takes a few minutes to register online with your mobile, and then your voice will really count when you join us in calling for a decent, affordable and
secure home for all renters.’

Nathalie Combes, Mosaic (LGBT+ Young Persons’) Trust:

‘Voter registration campaigns are vital to helping everyone be part of the decision-making that impacts the environment and every individual in this society
and beyond. We can be the change we want to see, starting with being registered to vote.’

Silvia Tadiello, Communication Worker, Migrant Voice:

‘Many migrants have been long-term residents in the UK and play active roles in the society, both nationally and locally: it is vital that they can take part in the country’s democratic life and make their voices heard. Yet too many migrants are not able to take part in voting, and others are unsure of their rights to vote. Understanding your voting rights can be tricky if you’re a migrant, which is why informing and encouraging everyone to register is so important.’

Tanya Taylor, Heads of Communications, Young Ealing Foundation:

‘This campaign is important to the Young Ealing Foundation because we are passionate about amplifying the voice of those who often do not get heard. Seventy-five per cent of our members are from marginalised groups, and all of them are working with young people. Young people’s voices matter. They are the future — decisions being made in government now, will affect them more than any of us. They deserve to influence policy and decision-making that will affect their future.’

To find out more about LVRW 2022 and access all the resources produced for this project — infographics, posters, animations, a video, materials in community languages and the Media and Political Literacy resources created by Shout Out UK for educators — please visit the GLA LVRW Hub at registertovote.london

DISCLAIMER: The articles on our website are not endorsed by, or the opinions of Shout Out UK (SOUK), but exclusively the views of the author.