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By Sharon RM Stevens

Some might have yet to realise that the rules are changing.

As of  4th May 2023, the new rules will be implemented, and you must registered and have a photo ID to be allowed to vote. As we stand right now as a nation, it is important that you have a say in whom will govern us. Firstly, this will affect the local elections on 4th May 2023 and then nationally by October 2023.

In Nottingham, many initiatives are encouraging us to be voter ready. Still, if you do not subscribe to social media platforms, you might not know until it’s too late.

Some people believe, ‘what will be, will be!’ However, we have a responsibility to vote, not just because of our ancestors who fought hard and some died, to ensure we have a voice. How can we complain about what is happening around us if we don’t take that opportunity when we have a chance to vote?

Research has shown that people of BAME ethnic origin are less likely to vote. Statistics show people from these backgrounds are lower on the uptake of registering to and then voting. 

The findings from 2014 to 2018 show a decline in registration. Asian voter registration highest was 84% lowering to 76% in 2018. Black highest voter registration was 76%, then lowered to 75% in 2018. Mixed voter registration was 77% falling to 69% in 2018.

Chart

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

The graph shows a steady drop over the fours years. Using this chart as a proforma, also taking into account the imminent changes, the chances are that there could be an even more significant decline because of a lack of information or misinformation.

There are various reasons why people of BAME heritage are less likely to register and then vote. Some are not as a direct result of the BAME population, some down to not seeing themselves represented on marketing tools used and not receiving marketing leaflets etc., leading to a lack of information and misinformation.

However, it’s time to redress this and ensure that the BAME population are aware, specifically because of the new changes, as it has yet to be talked about by the media in its various guises. Plus, the deadline of 17th April 2023 is fast approaching.

To vote, you will need one type of a photo ID. This might be in the form of the following: 

A passport – acceptable only from the UK, Channel Island, Isle of Man, Commonwealth country, British Overseas Territory, or EEA state.

Driving licence – only issued in the UK, any Channel Island, the Isle of Man, a Commonwealth country, a British Overseas Territory or EEA state.

A Blue badge

An older person’s bus pass

Disabled person’s bus pass

Oyster 60+ card

Identity card

Registered Blind Smart Pass

These are a few examples of acceptable IDs. Please visit https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter for the complete list and further information.

However, all is not lost if you don’t have any of the listed forms of IDs because you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. The deadline for applying for that is 25th April 2023 to ensure you can vote in the local elections on 4th May 2023. Please visit https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter for more information should you need to apply for a certificate.

Failing all the above (at the moment), you can use an out-of-date form of ID as long as all the details are correct and the photograph looks like you.

If you still need clarification, you can contact your local council for more information.

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