HOPE not hate’s Democracy Project is the new name for all our work encompassing voter registration and voter enfranchisement. HOPE not hate has made voter registration an increasingly important element of our work over the last two years. We have done so in the belief that it is when people feel that they have no avenue to express their views that alienation sets in and can become susceptible to extremism.
It is also people from the very communities who are most in need of a political voice that are most likely to not be on the register.
Hope not hate are thrilled to have teamed up with Ben & Jerry’s this spring to encourage Londoners to register to vote and make sure their voices are heard on 5 May 2016, at the London Mayoral and Assembly Election.
2015 saw HOPE not hate run a concerted Voter Registration drive in the months leading up to the General Election and then again in the autumn, ahead of changes to the way we registered to vote.
HOPE not hate decided to engage in Voter Registration because changes to the way people registered to vote meant millions of people - mainly the young, those in private rented accommodation and minorities - were at risk of losing their vote.
At the beginning of the year we released a report into the million fewer voters on the register, most of them students.
We then set about registering as many we could. To do this we partnered up with Unite the Union, the National Union of Teachers and the Daily Mirror.
With Unite and the Mirror we organised a two-week voter registration bus tour across the UK.
With the backing of Operation Disabled Vote, Operation Black Vote, Vote Booster, Bite the Ballot, NUT and NUS we set off from Grays, Thurrock and finished in Newcastle 15 days later.
Along the route we run VR drives and got the support of leading celebrities.
With the help of the NUT, we were also able to run more intense localized VR drives in areas with the biggest drop-off.
Due to the Government bringing forward the end of the transition date to change the way people registered to vote, we took up the issue again in the Autumn. We produced the most comprehensive report into the impact of these changes, which was circulated to all MPs and Peers in the hope they would overturn the Government’s decision.
While we were to lose the vote in the House of Lords by just 11 votes, our report and general VR work received wide applause from across the political spectrum and widespread coverage in the national media.
On the ground, we led a VR drive in Hackney, the London borough with the biggest expected drop-off, which saw a 23% drop off reduce to just 13%.
A Voter Registration Thunderclap and a London-wide leafleting session both saw significant spikes in registrations received by the Cabinet Office - clear proof of our effectiveness.