By Greg Sproston, Traveller Movement Policy Manager
Did you know your democratic rights are changing? As a result of the Elections Act 2022, anyone wishing to vote in a UK election will now need to provide photo ID at the polling station. An estimated 2 million people do not possess the right kind of ID, and to date only 10,000 people – around 0.5% of those eligible – have applied for a Voter Authority Certificate; a government issued document which will act as proof of ID at a polling station but not elsewhere.
This is a significant change to our democratic rights, but not all groups will be affected equally; previous Traveller Movement research has highlighted the disproportionate impact that this is likely to have on Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities; who may not own the accepted forms of ID, and for whom the cost of obtaining photo ID is a barrier to democratic participation.
That’s why Traveller Movement have partnered with Groundsworks London and the Greater London Authority to deliver an awareness raising project about the changes to electoral law. Over the next two months, we will be embarking on a social media campaign to inform people of the changes that are happening from the next elections, with community spokespeople providing clear advice on what people need to do in order to vote in person at the next election.
We’ll also be hosting 2 Q&A webinars with information on the benefits of registering to vote, as well as practical guidance on how to register, and how to apply to the Government for a free Voter Authority Certificate. We’ll also be making Site visits in London so we are able to advise of the changes, and of the support the Traveller Movement can provide, on a face-to-face basis.
If you’re interested in participating in this project, would like to attend one of our Q&A webinars, or would like any more information, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the project.