The Raven's Blog

24.04.17

Engaging voters ahead of May’s elections

Emma Hartley, head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission, discusses the importance of a collaborative approach to engage voters ahead of this year’s elections. 

It’s vital that voters can easily participate in every type of election so that democracy can work. One of the challenges for the Electoral Commission when new polls are introduced is ensuring that voters receive all the information they need to be able to take part. 

We run campaigns ahead of all major polls to remind people that they must be registered to vote, and this May’s elections are no exception. Our advertising is running across all parts of Great Britain where elections are being held, with targeted messaging aimed at voters who will be taking part in different elections depending on where they live.  

Our campaigns are an established part of our work, which we continually adapt to meet the changing ways voters look for information.

Voters increasingly expect to be able to find information online that will help them to participate in elections. They should be able to go online to find out where their polling stations are and which candidates are standing, particularly where there are new and unfamiliar elections, such as the combined authority mayoral elections. With this in mind, shortly we are hoping to add features to our website, yourvotematters.co.uk, so we can test a new approach to providing candidate and polling station information to voters in the run-up to polling day. 

To do this we have formed a partnership with Democracy Club, a voluntary organisation which develops digital tools to help people take part in elections. They are undertaking the huge task of gathering information about candidates and polling station locations from local authorities into one place, which we’re then hoping to share on our website. 

Our partnership with Democracy Club is an example of a collaborative approach which has become a key element in our campaigns. We rely on working with others to increase our ability to reach voters across a diverse range of audiences. We are working closely with the DCLG to share best practice to help them ensure their campaign for the combined authority mayoral elections engages voters. We are also supporting local authorities, by providing them with a range of resources to help them promote voter registration locally. 

The registration deadline for elections in England and Wales is 13 April and local authorities, government departments and other organisations can all play a part in promoting these polls, especially the new combined authority mayoral elections. We would encourage other organisations to use their channels to share information with voters and ensure they can make their voices heard on 4 May. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

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