In September, Labour Students across the country chose #AMillionMoreVoices as our priority campaign for the year.
The campaign is for our universities and colleges to properly integrate enrolment with voter registration, so students can submit information via a single online form for both university registration and automatic voter registration.
From Labour Clubs to the House of Lords, and after almost a year of lobbying, campaigning on campuses and meetings with Vice Chancellors, we’re delighted to update you on the success we have seen with the campaign so far.
From Labour Clubs…
Across the country, our activists, sabbatical officers and club committee members have been leading the fight on the ground. Using a variety of tactics, from passing policy through their Students Unions to sitting down with Vice Chancellors, our members have been working hard to get universities to integrate voter registration in the University enrolment process.
We’ve seen achievements at Leeds where voter enrolment will be in place for September 2017, at Bristol where their SU was mandated to lobby the University, and progress at Warwick, Leicester, Keele, Edinburgh and many more institutions thanks to your hard work.
… to the House of Lords
As your National Officers we have been lobbying Labour Lords and MPs on the Higher Education Bill, to make sure our Party’s opposition and amendments reflected the priorities of our organisation.
We’ve seen the difference it makes when such measures are introduced: at the University of Sheffield, 76% of eligible students are now registered, compared with as low as 13% at similar sized institutions. We have set out our arguments online and in person and ensured that our elected representatives are fighting on the issues that matter most to you.
We were thrilled to work with Paul Blomfield MP on his amendment to the HE Bill in the Commons; Gordon Marsden MP and the UCU; and eventually with the Labour team in the House of Lords. This engagement with the Bill, and the amendments that were submitted by the Lords with The Labour Party's Education spokesperson in the Lords, Lord Watson, proved crucial.
On Monday 7th March, we won a crucial victory with Labour Peers in the House of Lords voting in favour of Baroness Royall’s amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill, introducing automatic voter registration to the HE Bill. The amendment was passed, defeating the Government, by a majority of 200 to 189.
We are delighted with the result, and give our thanks to Baroness Royall and Labour Lords for working with us and tabling the amendment to make this happen.
Next, taking the fight to the Commons..
After the third reading in the House of Lords on the 4th April, the HE Bill will return to the Commons for a final consideration of the amendments that we have worked so hard to have discussed, and where MPs will decide whether automatic voter registration becomes ratified into law.
So far we’ve seen support from many Labour MPs for our #AMillionMoreVoices campaign, a special thanks to: Cat Smith MP, Angela Rayner MP, John McDonnell MP, Paul Blomfield MP, Gordon Marsden MP, Wes Streeting MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Nia Griffith MP, Sue Hayman MP, Jo Stevens MP, Jeff Smith MP, Barbara Keeley MP, Andy McDonald MP, Nic Dakin MP, Ian Lavery MP & Helen Hayes MP.
We need as many MPs as possible to work with us to make sure the amendment on automatic voter registration passes when it is brought to the Commons and becomes law.
So, we need your help.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Tweet your MP using our new graphics (attached) and the hash tag #AMillionMoreVoices and urge them to support our amendment when it comes back to the House of Commons
Use our new campaign packs arriving at your Labour club next month. Use it to write to your MP and continue the fight for students to be heard.
Contact your National Office to devise a local campaign strategy for your Labour Club
With your help, we will engage #AMillionMoreVoices in our democracy by making automatic voter registration enshrined into law.