Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 22 January 2015


5th February 2015 is national voter registration day. Make sure you are registered if you want to vote on 7th May – containing a general election, council elections and in some areas parish council elections too! Spoilt for choice. If you are not registered, you will be denied a vote.

The way we all register to vote is changing. The old fashioned way of the head of the household registering every adult in that home has gone. Now we are all responsible to register personally, to better reflect the way we live today.

To ensure that nobody misses out in the change of system voters on the old register are automatically transferred to the new. For the first time, it is possible to register online. You need to know your name your address, your date of birth and national insurance number. If you have all of these things you can click a few buttons and in thirty seconds appear on the register and be able to have your say at the forthcoming elections.

One group who have more work to do are postal voters. If you had a postal vote under the old system, your right to vote by post is not automatically carried forward, so you have to tell the authorities if you want a postal vote in May. You should by now have been contacted by the council about this.  I would expect between 20 and 30% of constituents to vote by post, but at the moment in SW Devon, the figure of those signed up for a postal vote is well under 20%. I suspect that some people think they are registered for a PV when they are not. It might be worth checking with the electoral registration department at your local authority.

If we are going to keep our democracy alive, we have to participate. The taxi driver taking me to the station on Monday thought that all politicians are rubbish, there is no point in voting and the country has gone to the dogs.
An encouraging start to the week! It is not true: despite our many challenges our country is a great place to live.
Apart from our weather, where is better, freer, safer?

This is in part because we have a stable political system. Help keep it alive by registering to vote and then on 7th May, have your say.  The custodians of our democracy are not the politicians, but the people.

posted by Gary @ 09:18