One in four Hackney residents at risk of losing vote after changes to electoral system

Polling station pic: secretlondon123

Polling station pic: secretlondon123

One in four Hackney residents is at risk of dropping off the electoral register if they fail to confirm their details by December 1.

As many as 43,700 people from the borough will be stripped of their right to vote, including in next year’s London mayoral election and the European referendum, because of changes in the electoral system brought in last year.

The new system requires everybody to be registered individually rather than as part of a household as was previously the case.

Councils must then verify people’s details against Department for Work and Pensions data or their own records in order for them to remain on the electoral register.

The Electoral Commission said 80 per cent of those on the previous register would have automatically moved onto the new system; however, about 10 million people nationwide will have needed to re-confirm their details.

Those most likely to be affected are young people, students, people in temporary or shared housing and people who are new to the country.

EastLondonLines have asked Hackney residents if they are aware of these changes to the registeration process and their views on it.

Hackney Council said all homes in the borough have recently been sent registration forms and every member of the household wishing to vote must respond and confirm their details before the publication of the new register on December 1.

Tim Shields, Hackney’s Chief Executive and returning officer, said: “Individual Electoral Registration is a big change and a big challenge, particularly in the light of the Government bringing forward the deadline for Individual Electoral Registration to 1 December 2015.

“We have brought in extra resources to make sure we can process applications and residents can help us meet the challenge by responding to the household enquiry form they will have received in the last few weeks.”

Shields added that those who fail to register will “lose their right to vote and could have their credit rating affected”.

Pressure groups are also campaigning to ensure people register to vote.

The Momentum movement said democracy is now “under threat” and Hope not Hate group has launched a voter registration drive, while also leading a campaign to get the Government to reverse its decision to bring forward the changes in the registration process.

The advocacy group is working closely with Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tyler, who will go to the House of Lords to put down a motion to overturn the Government’s plans next Tuesday.

Hackney Unites is also holding a community conference to discuss how to get people back on the register before it is too late.

The conference will take place at St John at Hackney Church, Lower Clapton Road E5 OPD on November 4 between 7pm and 8.30pm.

UK residents can register to vote by visiting

Video Credit: Marthe Holkestad and Charlotte Solheim

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