THE Labour party are kicking off their election campaign with the biggest ever UK voter registration drive focused on young people and ethnic minorities, it was announced on Thursday (31).
Taking place this evening, the drive will look to encourage voters to register in order to challenge the current Voter ID requirements, which is predicted to deny a disproportionate number of Asian and other BAME voters their democratic rights.
Approximately 3.5 million UK citizens do not have access to any form of photo ID.
Senior Labour ministers Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler are among those campaigning to defend the Asian community vote.
Speaking before the event, shadow home secretary Abbott said she was looking forward to hearing plans from young activists.
“It’s going to be such an inspiring start to the election campaign,” Abbott, the Hackney North and Stoke Newington representative, said. “We have two once-in-a-generation opportunities: to register as many voters from minority ethnic backgrounds as possible, and to kick out the Tories and win a radical, transformative Labour government.”
Butler, shadow minister for women and equalities, added the prospect of so many people not having a say due to Voter ID plans in the upcoming election was “scary”.
“(Prime minister) Boris Johnson is doing all he can to create division, and stop our communities having the influence we deserve,” the Brent Central MP said. “Labour will do all we can to maximise participation in politics. We have to stop him: join our call tonight, and make sure your friends and family are registered to vote.”
Joining the pair is Cllr Ali Milani, one of Labour’s youngest candidates, who will be co-hosting the event with Abbott and Butler.
He is due to stand against Johnson for the Uxbridge & South Ruislip constituency.
Milani explained that the drive to register voters was an effort to ensure the voices of underrepresented communities were heard.
“Johnson has his super rich fat cat donors (…) but we have something more important: we have people power,” he said. “He represents more of the same – more racism, more inequality. We’re the party that will deliver real change: an economy that works for all, education from cradle to grave, a fair and respectful immigration system and no more illegal foreign wars.”
According to a spokesman, 500 people were already signed up for the conference call hours before the drive was due to take place.
Data has revealed up to 9.5 million people in the UK are not registered to vote correctly under the current system of individual electoral registration.
Young people are much less likely to be registered, with almost one-third of people aged 18-34 missing from the electoral roll.
MPs on Tuesday (29) voted to hold a general election on December 12. It will be the first Christmas election in Britain since 1923.