Electoral registration down as Tory Britain faces democratic crisis

More than 12,000 potential voters within Bridgwater Constituency are missing from the electoral register, a vast number which could have significant implications for the anticipated General Election later this year and creates a damning indictment as to the health of democracy in the UK under the Conservatives.

According to research released on February 7th by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), a staggering 7.6 million eligible voters are estimated to be missing on the electoral register from across England and Wales, with 12,088 eligible voters across Bridgwater, Burnham, Highbridge and the surrounding areas not registered, the latter figure equivalent to more than 15% of the electorate in the constituency.

Such a large number of missing potential voters, who as it stands will have no voice at the upcoming election, puts at threat the highly esteemed democratic processes in the UK. Voter apathy and alienation has become widespread under the 14-year rule of the Conservatives, with politicians now elected while a significant amount of the population is absent from the UK electoral roll.

Worryingly, the recent trend is for these figures to have been on the increase, with the total number of registered voters in 2022 having declined by 0.7%, or 345,818, when compared with the number of registered voters in 2017.

The Conservative-implemented new voter ID rules, which require all registered voters to have a form of photographic identification in order to vote, is likely to only exacerbate the stark rise in missing voters. This year’s General Election will be the first conducted under the new criteria, with the majority of those not possessing ID being younger or from more deprived backgrounds, and therefore less likely to have the required identification, such as a driver’s licence.

Furthermore, having been driven to financial peril by the Conservative government, cash-strapped local councils that are responsible for registering new voters are also struggling to facilitate the process of voter registration.

As a result, the ERS holds concerns over the prospects of institutions being able to cope with new voter registrations as the ERS and other organisations begin their registration drives ahead of the anticipated General Election.

“Whilst the effort to register voters [in 2019] was a huge success, this volume (2.3 million registrations between October 29 and November 26, 2019) put huge pressure on Electoral Registration Officers to process all these applications,” the ERS release said.

Bridgwater parliamentary candidate Claire Sully and the Liberal Democrats believe an election should be called immediately to enable the country to restore confidence in its ailing democracy, one of many issues prevalent to voters.

“These figures are hugely worrying but unfortunately they are reflective of the state of our democracy under Conservative rule,” Claire said.

“Britain is having its fundamental democratic principles eroded by a Conservative Party that desperately attempts to cling to power.

“The Conservatives have eroded our democratic institutions and principles under the mantra of self-preservation. A General Election needs to be called now so that the country can elect better MPs and install a new government to clear up the mess of 14 years of Conservative rule.

“I’m passionate that politics should be about representing people – not dictating to them. The Liberal Democrats offer a community-based approach that values the views of each individual and seeks to make our Country more democratic, not less.

“The Conservatives need to be removed and Labour knows it can’t win here. We need the Liberal Democrats in Bridgwater.”

Voters are encouraged to register, if they have not already done so, by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

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