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Get ready to vote: make your voice heard this election

general election
Gareth McNab

Director of External Affairs

Getting ready to vote – make sure you can use your voice. 

Poverty goes far deeper than a lack of material resources — many of the 14.4 million people in the UK who experience poverty today* also describe the impacts of poverty as robbing them of freedom, dignity and hope. The ability to participate in society is one of the aspects that our friends at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation acknowledge as key in their definition of poverty.

[Poverty is] when a person’s resources (mainly their material resources) are not sufficient to meet their minimum needs (including social participation). 

Joseph Rowntree Foundation 

At Christians Against Poverty, we often see the devastating impact that insufficient income and problem debt have on mental and physical ill health. We also see huge amounts of social isolation, loneliness, broken relationships and other big impacts on home, family and community. Our biblical mandate compels us to speak up for, and with, all those whose voices are often not heard or prioritised by people in power. We must make sure nobody is deprived of the ability to use their voice when it comes to their vote in the general election on 4 July.

The Electoral Commission has warned that:

  • 8 million eligible voters may not vote at the next general election because they don’t register to vote in time

  • 4 million eligible voters may not vote because they do not have appropriate Photo ID

  • 14 million eligible voters may not vote because they are not motivated to turn out to vote on election day. 

These barriers to participation are not equal – people are at greater risk of not being able to participate in the democratic process if they are young, rent their home, have moved recently, live in an economically disadvantaged community, are from an ethnic minority or are disabled.

This disproportionate impact on people already commonly set on the edge of our society is an injustice that God would have much to say about, and his people – the Church – can do something about.

Register to vote

The first and most important step is to make sure you are registered to vote. If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to participate in the election. The deadline to register is 11:59pm on Tuesday 18 June. Don’t wait until the last minute – register now to ensure your voice is heard.

  • Register to vote here.

  • If you need to check if you are already registered (on the voter’s roll), click here.

Being on the voter’s roll can have additional benefits beyond voting. It may positively impact your credit score, as credit agencies use the electoral roll to verify your identity. This can make it easier to access credit, rent a property, or even get a mobile phone contract.

People who should pay particular attention to whether they are on the voter’s roll include:

  • People in rented property, especially private rented property

  • People who have moved house recently

  • People who have changed their name recently

  • Students – you are allowed to register to vote at both your term-time and your home address – make sure you are registered to vote at the address you are most likely to be at on 4 July (or make other arrangements as to how you will vote)

Apply for a postal vote

If you think you might not be able to make it to a polling station on election day, applying for a postal vote is a convenient option. You don’t need ID in order to apply for a postal vote. Deadlines for postal vote applications differ depending on your location:

  • In Great Britain, you must apply by 5pm on Wednesday 19 June. Apply here.

  • In Northern Ireland, the deadline is 5pm on Friday 14 June. Apply here.

A postal vote could be a good idea for you if:

  • You are a student and not sure whether you’ll be at your term time address or not on 4 July

  • You want to know that you have cast your vote in good time without the pressure of election day

  • You are in Scotland, where different school term dates apply and a particularly high proportion of people may not be at their home address on 4 July to vote in person

Apply for a proxy vote

A proxy vote allows you to appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. Make sure to apply by the relevant deadlines to ensure your proxy can vote for you:

  • In Great Britain, the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 26 June. Apply here.

  • In Northern Ireland, you need to apply by 5pm on Friday 14 June. Apply here.

As with postal voting, a proxy vote can be a good idea if you might be away from home on election day, or unable to leave the house for any reason. 

Apply for voter ID

Recent changes mean that you now need to show photo ID to vote at a polling station everywhere in the UK – ID has been needed in Northern Ireland for many years, but is a recent introduction to Great Britain and something that has caused some issues for key groups of people. 

If you lack the necessary ID, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate or an Electoral ID card, which are free forms of photo ID that enable you to cast your vote in person.

Here are the key deadlines and application links:

  • For a Voter Authority Certificate in Great Britain, apply by 5pm on Wednesday 26 June. Apply here (if you lack the acceptable ID, check here)

  • For an Electoral ID card in Northern Ireland, the deadline is 11:59pm on Friday 21 June. Apply here (if you lack the acceptable ID, check here)

How can you help others?

We want to make sure no one goes without the opportunity to have their voice heard, and their vote counted. We hope the information in this blog has helped you, and encourages you to think about how that information may go on to help someone else.

Could you keep an eye out for CAP’s social media posts on this topic, and share around, to help make sure people have the information they need to get ready to vote? Could you speak with friends or relatives about their plans for polling day?

Poverty – in all its forms, and with all its terrible impacts – is a matter of public urgency. Together, we can make it a greater political priority by speaking up and reaching out.

*DWP, Households Below Average Income, 2022/23

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

We urgently need your support to reach every person in poverty.

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'