By Mark Nyack, Senior Communications Officer (Public Information)
Often the immeasurable contributions made by black and ethnic minority people to academia, research, art, music, politics and technology are overlooked. Black history is part of all our histories but it has sometimes been denied a place in our cultural awareness.
Black history month aims to address this. It informs and educates all of us by highlighting and celebrating the achievements and contributions of the black community over the years. As Black history month nears to an end it’s a great opportunity to celebrate diversity more broadly and the steps forward that society has made.
At the Electoral Commission we recognise the contributions made by all sections of our society and the importance of ensuring everyone has their say. We want to ensure our voter registration message reaches everyone, particularly under-registered groups. This is particularly important at this time of year as every local authority across the UK undertakes the annual canvass, ensuring that their electoral registers are accurate and up to date.
The 2017 British Election Study indicates that ethnic minorities are generally less likely to vote than white people. It estimated turnout among BAME voters to be around 59%, 11 percentage points lower than the turnout among white voters 70%.
The first step to having your say at an election or referendum is to ensure your name is on the electoral register.
Our research indicates that black and minority ethnic people are a significantly under registered groups in the UK. Our report looking at the accuracy and completeness of the electoral register published in 2016 shows that 25% of black people, 20% of Asian people and 23% of people with mixed ethnicity are not on the electoral roll in the UK.
For the May 2018 elections the Commission partnered with BME organisations to help spread the registration message by sharing resources that promoted voter registration.
This targeted approach across various under registered groups ensured that all sections of the community had exposure to our public awareness activities.
Politics affects every part of our lives. If you’re not registered to vote you don’t have a voice. It’s quick and easy to register to vote online, simply visit www.gov.uk/registertovote