This week saw the National Voter Registration Day. I am ashamed to say that there have been times in my life when I have failed to exercise my right to vote.
This year I will definitely be voting, though I’m still unsure of whom I will be voting for. Although I am thrilled to read that voter registration numbers are substantially up on recent years, I am still very apprehensive. My deep seated fear is that the people we work with at the Centre will become pawns in a political chess game, as the major parties promise even greater ‘toughness’ on welfare reform, benefit sanctions and cuts to vital services. And I’m worried that people who need our help the most, such as migrants, will be even more victimised. I hope politicians will acknowledge that further impoverishing poor and vulnerable people simply doesn’t add up economically. So I will vote for whoever convinces me that they will exercise some moral integrity on these issues.
In the run up to the general election, the Centre will be encouraging and supporting people to register, particularly the young people in our hostel, given that some 3 million young people who are eligible to vote have not registered. We will share some materials prepared by Caritas Social Action Network of which we are a Member, which give some tips and advice on how to engage with the election process. It has given me ideas on what I would ask a prospective MP, it might help you.
Cathy Corcoran OBE