1. A voice for everyone
The government is committed to maximising electoral registration to help support the highest possible turnout in elections. Many people want to be more involved in and influence the decisions that make an impact on their day-to-day lives, whether these are taken by the government or by their local council. However, for their voices to be heard at the ballot box they need to be registered to vote.
The Cabinet Office aims to work with national organisations that bring communities on board to help motivate, inform and engage people who are not on the electoral register - in particular, groups that are under-represented in the electoral process.
You can now register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales. Online registration brings voter registration into the 21st century and makes it easier, simpler and faster for people to register to vote.
2. Different ways to engage communities
2.1 Democratic engagement resources
In February 2014 the government announced funding for 5 organisations to develop new approaches to encourage democratic engagement amongst some of the groups who feel most disengaged from democracy and politics in the UK.
Organisations with experience of working directly with communities have valuable insight into the best ways of engaging different groups. The Cabinet Office worked in partnership with 5 national charities to produce resources to promote democratic engagement:
- the Royal Mencap Society created an Easy read guide to registering to vote and voting for people with a learning disability, their families and carers, to encourage and enable engagement with the democratic process, including registering to vote
- the Hansard Society,, in partnership with Homeless Link, worked with other charities and housing associations to develop a Your Vote Matters resource pack and ways to engage homeless people and those in social housing to register to vote and use their voice
- UK Youth developed Democracy Challenge, which provides 16-year-olds and older who are interested in democracy and politics with the tools to spread their enthusiasm to others. This resource is available for use by youth workers and others who work with young people.
- the Scottish Youth Parliament, developed a peer educator training pack for young people
- Gingerbread developed a digital voter registration toolkit with tips and examples for raising online awareness with single parents about voter engagement and registering to vote
2.2 Rock Enrol!®
Rock Enrol! is a high quality, simple to use, interactive learning resource which encourages young people aged 16-19 to engage with democracy. It can be used by teachers, youth leaders and young people themselves in a range of settings.
The session lasts 45 minutes so that young people can debate important issues and decide how the government should spend - and save - its money. Developed with youth led organisation Bite the Ballot, it uses interactive games to get students discussing important issues, whether local or global, and to get their voice heard by registering to vote in the session itself.
The resource includes a lesson outline, activities, reasons to register to vote and supporting guidance. It fits well with the citizenship curriculum but can be used in a wide range of environments, such as in colleges or youth groups.
3. Find out more
The Cabinet Office has published democratic engagement resources. Whilst they were developed for specific groups of people, they can also be adapted for other communities, including those in other under-registered groups, in future engagement activity. For further information, please contact DemocraticEngagement@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.
Register to vote today.