A new voting campaign has launched to help marginalised and new voters to the polling stations, and to get out the vote on December 12.
First published in November 2019.
It came from out of nowhere when I was asked to help on a project for this election. What started as seedlings of motivation grew into a substantial effort to build an awareness campaign that could really work. Network.Vote is about getting the ‘unheard third’ of voters to both register and walk down to their polling stations on election day.
It’s an exciting project – and a little bit different.
Today we launch our website https://t.co/MghOAJAWaE - a tool to help our communtities across the UK boost voter turnout.— network.vote (@NetworkVote) November 10, 2019
Ours is a simple, unique idea: we don't want you to sign up to a mailing list or get your details. The materials are free, open-source and for everybody /1
Our goal is very simple: provide resources and information for groups to build their own networks, thus promoting voter registration and awareness. We were very aware of how previous campaigns were run. Seeing the recent internal problems in the People’s Vote offices, it only strengthened our wish for the methods to be as hands-off as possible.
We operate via three core tenants – no data, no donations, no directions. We want to be building blocks for groups to grow from. You can sense from this election campaign how strong the online aspect will be. Today’s videos and memes are yesterday’s canvassing. But social media can only influence so much.
Network.Vote from the outset was committed to giving resources, not a constant Twitter presence.
The reason for this approach is because of the groups we are hoping to attract. The ‘unheard third’ encompasses young, BAME, low-income and disabled citizens who don’t regularly vote. The barriers to them voting are physical as well as cultural. We want to change the perceptions and help these groups.
Of course, there’s a time limit with voter registration. The 26 November is the cut-off date for people to send in their details. It’s a five-minute process requiring your National Insurance number, but people will undoubtedly fall through the deadline. But registration is not enough. Our campaign wants to go further and keep up the motivation and awareness till election day. It’s likely that people are going to ebb and flow with their willingness to vote, it’s only natural. Our resources help keep up the pace.
It’s totally nonpartisan. Frankly, you could go and vote for a dolphin, Lord Buckethead or Al Murray, we’d be just as happy. But it’s a pivotal election, a historic vote which will have implications for millions of people. Isn’t it right that we get as many eligible voters to put a cross on a ballot paper?
We’ve sent out our resources to every university and college in the UK, along with a long list of charities and journalists who we believe could shape this campaign. We’ve already seen results. Which makes me incredibly proud.
But we need your help.
As mentioned, we want our posters and flyers in the real world, outside of the Twitter bubble. Shares and retweets are helpful and appreciated – but what we need is conversation, actual human interaction. You might belong to a club or society, maybe a trade union or charity group. Maybe drop our details into conversation. Ask people if they’ve registered to vote. A great line is to ask where their polling station is. A pretty innocuous question really – but so powerful to help people engage with the voting process.
We don’t want your money or your email address.
There’s millions of people who are not registered to vote, or simply don’t. Let’s get them to the polls – because every vote counts.
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