UPSELLING: How to increase the number of people who vote, by promoting the idea of joining the electoral register during the provision of other services

1 July 2017
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

Cork City Cllr Fiona Ryan (Solidarity)

Cork City Solidarity Councillor Fiona Ryan has brought forward a series of motions to be discussed and debated in Cork City Council with the aim of improving and encouraging voter registration.

The motions, including the introduction of a “Voter Registration Month” which is envisioned to be a conscious drive to provide voter registration forms by public facing council staff throughout a defined month annually, are aimed at breaching the alienation that many people feel towards politics and their power.

Councillor Ryan said;

“There are many people who feel that their voices aren’t counted or heard, particularly in more hard pressed areas where the level of investment and focus on their communities only serves to encourage this attitude.

Much of the current political process, which encourages public action in politics only once every five years when their votes are needed, is a part of the problem. The water charges movement, led and organised by working class communities themselves, reawakened many people to their own power.

Between a potential referendum to Repeal the 8th on the horizon within the next year, local elections by 2019 and the possibility of a General Election in the mean time, now is the time to make sure your voice is counted and heard.”

Councillor Ryan indicated to the recent U.K. elections as a source of inspiration for the set of motions being put forward to council.

She said;

“The power of movements to awaken and activate ordinary people who then in turn translate their desire for change into a political expression is extremely important aspect in having the interests of the many being translated into material change.

We only need look across to our neighbors in UK to see this in real time. The social movement that developed around Corbyn and the subsequent shock election result, carried primarily by first time young voters, has changed the political reality forever.

Political representation amongst communities that are most effected by the austerity and conservative policies of the establishment is important and these motions aim towards bridging that gap to the fullest extent possible, at minimal cost and effort.”

Solidarity will continue to campaign on the streets towards encouraging people to register to vote, but more importantly, to become actively engaged in their communities and on a political level to fight for real change and against social and economic inequality.

Motions

  1. That every year, Cork City council will engage in a “Voter Registration Month” where all council staff who have interaction with the public will encourage application and hand out registration forms as a part of their activities.”
  2. That Cork City Council will have voter registration forms available and visible at the housing counters in public areas of City Hall.”
  3. That when Cork City Council allocates local authority housing, a voting registration form is provided automatically alongside additional correspondence relating to the tenancy.”

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