Midlothian MP Backs Voter Registration Drive: Everyone In Scotland Must Have Their Say In Country’s Future

With one week to go, the UK prepares for its third annual National Voter Registration Drive, and Midlothian MP Owen Thompson is working with Bite The Ballot and Shelter Scotland to ensure everyone can have their say.

Over 1-7 February 2016, Bite the Ballot and partners will coordinate the UK’s third annual drive to get people registered on the electoral roll. With over a million names falling off the electoral register in December 2015, over 100 national and local elections taking place in May – and an increasingly likely EU referendum – 2016’s campaign couldn’t be more timely.

The deadline to register to vote in time for the Scottish Parliament election is April 18th and the online link can be found here: http://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The SNP MP has also today backed a new campaign by Shelter Scotland aimed at encouraging those living in rented or temporary accommodation and homeless people to sign up to vote.  Further details can be found here:

Figures published by the Electoral Commission show that only 63.3% of people who rent from a private landlord were registered to vote in 2014, compared to 93.6% of those who own their home outright and 89.3% who own their home with a mortgage.

Commenting, Owen Thompson said:

“These are very important campaigns and I commend Shelter Scotland and Bite the Ballot’s work – nobody in Scotland should find themselves disenfranchised simply because of their living situation and it’s important that we do everything we can to ensure as many people as possible are signed up to vote.

“One of the great successes of the independence referendum was the level of engagement and voter participation that swept across every community in the weeks and months before September 18th. I am hopeful that Bite The Ballot’s focus on youth movement to engage, inform and inspire people to participate in democracy will build on that participation to create a stronger and more equal society by encouraging more disenfranchised young people to become active change makers.

“Never before have so many people signed up to have their say in the democratic process in Scotland – it is vitally important that we aim to retain this level of voter participation as we move into the Scottish Parliament election campaign and ahead of a likely EU referendum – and it’s vitally important that everyone’s voice is heard.”