Anti-racism rallies attended by more than 200,000 people will have been “all for nothing” if people don’t vote in next month’s elections, campaigners have warned.
Members of unrepresented communities are urged to register to vote before Monday’s deadline in a new video released by Operation Black Vote.
Lord Simon Woolley, the group’s founder and director, said voting “absolutely makes a difference.”
He said: “Look no further than what occurred
last November in the US. The voters voted for an end to racial division, and for racial equality for all communities.
“We’ve seen people here protest for change. The most radical political act you can do,
is to register to vote, use your voice, and vote.”
Operation Black Vote is urging underrepresented people, not just Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, but also young people, “not to underestimate the power of their vote to help create real change.”
Lord Woolley added: “Since Covid-19 and the death of George Floyd millions of have protested for change, systemic change that will tear down barriers and unleash talent, particularly for young men and women and those from Black Asian minority ethnic backgrounds.
“The crucial way we can create the change we desperately want to see, is through voting.
“It is a small individual action, that can have a huge collective impact.”
The local elections take place on Thursday, May 6, but you’ll be turned away at the polling booth if your details aren’t up-to-date.
This year local elections are being held in England with about 4,650 council seats due to be elected.
Voters will be able to elect the councillors who are in charge of many services, including rubbish collection, social care and library services.
Depending on where you live, you may also be asked to elect a police and crime commissioner, and/or your area’s mayor.
In Wales and Scotland there are also upcoming parliamentary elections.
It will be the largest set of local elections since local government was reorganised in 1973, with most people being able to participate in at least one vote.
When is the deadline to register to vote?
Those who haven’t registered to vote have until Monday, April 19 at 11.59pm.
You only have to register to vote once, so if you’ve done it for a previous election you won’t need to take any further action.
But you do need to register your details again if you have changed your name, address or nationality since you last voted.
How to register to vote
In England, you can register to vote online or using a paper form through the government website here.
If you are completing a paper form you need to print it and send it to your local Electoral Registration Office.
You can also apply for a postal vote, but this application needs to be received before 5pm on April 20.
To be eligible to register you need to be a British, Irish or European Union citizen.
Or you can be a Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter or remain in the UK or who does not require such leave.
You also need to be resident, or usually live in the UK, and be aged 16 or over.
But keep in mind you won’t be able to vote until you are 18.
You’ll need your National Insurance number, name and address details.