Are you on the new-look electoral roll? 1 in 50 Greenwich people could lose their right to vote

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More than 1 in 50 Greenwich borough residents could lose their right to vote due to Government changes to the way electoral registers are compiled.

Greenwich Council says 4,293 electors are at risk of falling off the roll when it is forced to switch to individual electoral registration in December.

Broken down by ward, the difference is enough to unseat two of Greenwich’s current councillors, judging by 2014’s election results.

Previously, the electoral roll was compiled by one member of each household filling in a survey form. Now, everybody who wants a vote will has to apply individually.

Even if you had a vote in May’s general election, you may still be at risk of falling off the register as voters who’d registered under the old method were still included then.

If you’re unsure you’re on the register, you can check with Greenwich Council’s electoral registration office (or Lewisham’s, or anywhere else). You can get yourself on the roll by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

186,340 people were registered to vote in Greenwich in May 2015, up from 174,522 at the time of 2014’s council poll.

The Labour Party launched a “missing million” campaign last weekend focused on driving up electoral registration – it fears that it will lose votes in poorer areas.

That analysis is borne out in Greenwich borough – a ward-by-ward breakdown of where the missing voters are shows more in Thamesmead Moorings and the two wards covering Woolwich. While Labour has little to fear in those three seats, it will need every vote it can get in next year’s mayoral election if Sadiq Khan is to beat Zac Goldsmith to City Hall.

Ward Missing voters
Abbey Wood 295
Blackheath Westcombe 165
Charlton 197
Coldharbour & New Eltham 147
Eltham North 108
Eltham South 121
Eltham West 164
Glyndon 338
Greenwich West 350
Kidbrooke with Hornfair 232
Middle Park and Sutcliffe 158
Peninsula 205
Plumstead 297
Shooters Hill 215
Thamesmead Moorings 510
Woolwich Common 385
Woolwich Riverside 406

Total “red matches” – those due to come off electoral register in 1 December 2015. Source: Greenwich Council

In marginal seats, the effects of missing votes could go both ways. Judging by 2014’s results, two more Labour councillors could have been elected in Blackheath Westcombe and Eltham South if all the “red matches” were Tory voters and had already been removed.

The figures were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to Greenwich Council. A similar request was made to Lewisham.

PS. Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling today accused journalists of “misusing” Freedom of Information laws to “generate” news stories. The government is currently reviewing FOI laws.

4 comments

  1. Thudd

    Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, in evidence to Parliament, estimated that the number missing from the national electoral roll who should be registered was 3m; he also estimated that 3m of those who are registered should not be on the roll. We need to get it right – particularly given the third-world standard of our Electoral Quotient, which is way beyond the +/-5% benchmark for western democracies, and far, far away from the +/-3% achieved by advanced democracies such as New Zealand.

    So yes, let’s support fully the Labour campaign to get the missing 3m on the register – which should include all Commonwealth citizens with visa / leave to remain / legal residency in the UK and who are eligible to vote in UK General Elections whilst they’re over here. But let’s keep the Register clean – not least in Greenwich to minimise the chances of another Tower Hamlets – and get rid of the 3m nationally who shouldn’t be registered.

  2. Malcolm

    I am quite sure that is was only a couple of months ago that the council sent us a household form and not individual ones. Should they not be sending out individual ones to everyone listed at the property? I am confused.

  3. Barbara

    Same here Malcolm. We got one form and confirmed online only a couple of months ago in the Greenwich borough.

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