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Act now to safeguard your right to vote

2015 Tachwedd 20 4:35 PM

William Powell AM, Chair of the National Assembly's Cross Party Group on Europe, is today urging citizens across Wales to make sure they've registered to vote. The UK Government's controversial decision to bring forward the full implementation of the new system of Individual Electoral Registration to 1st December 2015 means that, unless they make sure they've registered, people across Wales could be denied the right to vote.

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales, said:

"I am urging all eligible voters to ensure that they have registered so that they are not left without a vote. I also want to encourage Local Authorities to do all they can to encourage voters to register, and I have written to every Local Authority in the country in order to gauge the impact that these changes will have on voter numbers. I have also asked them if they have identified any areas where there are a disproportionately high number of unconfirmed voters.

"We know there are a number of hard to reach groups such as 16 - 18 years olds, students, private renters and home-movers who are all at risk of not registering for a variety of reasons. I wholeheartedly agree with my colleague Baroness Jenny Randerson's comments that it was completely wrong for the UK Government to have ignored advice from the independent Electoral Commission. They reported in June that the transition to individual voter registration should have stayed in place until December 2016, to allow the public sufficient time to register.

"This is yet another example of the Conservatives in Westminster fast-tracking significant changes to existing practice in pursuit of their own ideology and political gain. These changes threaten to undermine democracy, not only in the National Assembly elections in 2016, but also the forthcoming EU Referendum and the legitimacy of any Westminster boundary changes ahead of the 2020 General Election. I would urge those potentially at risk to act today."

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Anyone not yet registered or who wants to check that they are should contact their local electoral registration office and more information about this can be found here - http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/