Spreading the word – working in partnership to increase registration

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Working in partnership can be a powerful way to help raise awareness about your organisation’s message, especially within groups that you know are less likely to hear about it through the channels you may use in your usual communications activity.

Before the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) began last year we already knew that there were certain groups – young people, students, BME communities, recent home movers – that were less likely to be registered to vote. We also knew that these groups were less likely to be registered under IER when it was introduced. That’s why we looked at the public awareness plans of every electoral registration officer (ERO) in England, Wales and Scotland before the transition to IER started, to make sure that the need to reach out to these groups was specifically considered where they made up a significant proportion of the local population.

But we knew that more needed to happen.

So before the transition to IER started last year, we began forming partnerships with a wide range of corporate, public and voluntary organisations. Our aim for this work was simple – to make sure as many people as possible are registered to vote and that they don’t miss the opportunity to make their voice heard at any elections that are held across the UK.

The response we have received over the last year from a really diverse range of organisations as part of this work has been fantastic.

For example, organisations like the NUS and the Association of Colleges have been doing great work both through social media and practical work on the ground to get the message out there to students. We’ve also recently written, alongside a range of national representative bodies, to all University Vice Chancellors and College Principals asking them to do some simple, but potentially powerful, actions to get their students registered.

We’ve also been looking at how to reach out to other young people that may not still be in full time education. We hope that as many people as possible will see our currently live online advertising encouraging them to register or will watch the national television advert that we will be running from 16 March. But it’s also been great to get the registration message out through some our partners that engage with younger people in different ways, such as driving schools, who have distributed wallet cards to learner drivers with details of how they can get registered.

We’ve been delighted to see the response from a range of faith organisations who have committed to helping us get the message out amongst their communities. We have also been supporting the launch of a great initiative by Operation Black Vote to get out into BME communities directly on a massive registration bus, which is designed to put the information people need to get registered into their hands.

Organisations like Which? and MoneySavingExpert.com have been helping us raise awareness amongst home movers and people who may be looking for advice about mortgages by posting blogs and information on relevant parts of their website. Whilst on National Voter Registration Day, Facebook worked with us to get the registration message out to millions of Facebook users, which was just one of many things that happened on a fantastic day of action involving organisations across the whole UK.

We are hugely grateful for everything that all of the organisations we are working with have done so far. I obviously can’t mention everyone in one blog post, but your efforts are really appreciated, including all of our partners working to reach out to overseas and service voters, who we are also working hard to help get registered through specifically targeted campaign activity.

At the end of the day, no matter what group someone is part of, if they are eligible to register to vote we want them to be. In December 2014, we published a guide for our partners and others to use. If you haven’t been involved with our campaign yet, we’d encourage you to do so. Have a look at the guide or get in touch with us and we can help you plan your activity.

Help us spread the word. Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in.

Warren Seddon
Head of Media and Public Affairs

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