Electoral roll changes: More than 1 in 20 Lewisham people could lose their right to vote

Lewisham Council is trying to get people to sign up to the register

Last month, this website revealed that one in 50 Greenwich borough residents could lose their right to vote under changes to the electoral register being introduced in December.

Now it’s emerged that the situation is worse in neighbouring Lewisham – with more than one in 20 voters set to fall off the register if they don’t act before 1 December.

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

Figures released by Lewisham Council under the Freedom of Information Act show that out of 195,863 voters in the borough, 10,730 face falling off the roll when councils switch to the new system on 1 December.

As in Greenwich, it is less well-off areas of Lewisham borough that face losing the most voters. Evelyn ward, which covers most of Deptford, risks losing 8% of its voters; while New Cross ward is set to lose 7.5%.

Lewisham kindly supplied a breakdown of how many voters are registered in each of these 19 wards, so these figures are more detailed than those offered by Greenwich.

Ward Missing voters
Evelyn (11,308 voters) 910 (8%)
New Cross (11,260) 852 (7.5%)
Lewisham Central (13,028) 842 (6.4%)
Rushey Green (9,766) 614 (6.3%)
Telegraph Hill (11,610) 697 (6%)
Brockley (12,518) 738 (5.9%)
Forest Hill (10,764) 631 (5.8%)
Perry Vale (11,264) 627 (5.5%)
Sydenham (11,129) 616 (5.5%)
Ladywell (10,060) 515 (5.1%)
Bellingham (10,308) 529 (5.1%)
Catford South (10,788) 549 (5.1%)
Whitefoot (9,913) 492 (4.9%)
Crofton Park (10,879) 494 (4.5%)
Downham (10,315) 450 (4.3%)
Grove Park (10,517) 442 (4.2%)
Blackheath (10,091) 393 (3.9%)
Lee Green (10,345) 339 (3.3%)

Total “red matches” – those due to come off electoral register in 1 December 2015, as at 11 November 2015. Ward electorates as at 1 September. Source: Lewisham Council

Lewisham staff have been working to make sure people stay on the roll, and these efforts are highlighted in the council’s figures – 1,410 people have been put on the roll since 1 September.

While it’s true the change may also weed out names that shouldn’t be on the register – because they are dead, or are registered in two different places – the Labour Party has launched a “missing million” campaign to get people back on the electoral roll.

This isn’t just out of public service – proposals to cut the number of parliamentary constituencies from 650 to 600, which are set to particularly affect Labour’s urban heartlands, are likely to use 1 December 2015 as a reference date.

Seats in Greenwich and Lewisham are particularly under threat from the changes, which are likely to see many more seats span borough boundaries.

Lewisham Deptford, currently held by Vicky Foxcroft, is set to lose 6.2% of voters. Past plans to redraw constituencies first saw the Deptford area merged with Greenwich, before it was then joined with Rotherhithe.

Think you’re not on the electoral roll? Check with electoral offices in Lewisham, Greenwich, or anywhere else. Know you’re not on the roll? Register now.

PS. The Freedom of Information Act, which uncovered these figures in both Greenwich and Lewisham, is under threat. See four simple ways you can take action.

One comment