General Election 2015: 12,000 new voters register in Manchester in last month

With this year’s local and General elections less than a week away more than 350,000 people across Manchester are registered to have their say next Thursday.

A breakdown of the figures released by Manchester City Council this week show that of the 363,005 people are eligible to vote in the local elections, 48,397 people have been registered since December 2014 with 12,014 signed up in the last month alone.

Census figures show that more than one in five Manchester residents move home every year – one of the highest turnovers in the country – so updating the register has also meant removing details of those who no longer live at addresses.

This year’s election is the first to take place under the new national Individual Electoral Registration system, whereby each person is now responsible for registering themselves to vote by providing their national insurance number, date of birth and any additional proof of identity required.

However, the council embarked upon an awareness campaign across Greater Manchester in an effort to encourage people to register.

The ‘Register to Vote’ message was emblazoned on buses, bus shelters and digital and traditional billboards, and tens of thousands of leaflets and hundreds of posters were distributed in locations ranging from bars to barbers shops, and tattoo parlours and takeaways to leisure centres.

The council also worked closely with higher and further education institutions to promote electoral registration of approximately 50,000 students registered at Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music.

For example, the council worked together with MMU to create an integrated online system which enabled students to register to vote at the same time as they enrolled on their courses.

Canvassers have visited more than 100,000 properties in the last nine months, from private homes to care homes and student halls, to help people register.

Using tablet devices they were able to register many people on their own doorsteps and this drive was also backed on social media, and in newspapers, radio advertising and media interviews.

Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, who is also the electoral registration officer the city, said: “We would like to thank the many organisations, including the media, which have worked very hard with us to promote awareness of electoral registration. These efforts have had a real impact.

“But notwithstanding this we are only legally able to register people when they provided all the information required. We know that there are still 29, 516 properties where no one is registered and 3, 298 people who started the registration process but have not provided all the information they were asked for to complete it despite repeated reminders.”

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