To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent discussions the Commission has had with (a) church and community leaders from black and minority ethnic communities and (b) Operation Black Vote on increasing registration levels for voters in those communities.
We know from our research of the electoral registers that voters from BME communities are less likely to be registered to vote when compared with white voters.
As part of all of its public awareness campaigns ahead of elections, the Electoral Commission provides voter registration resources to a wide range of groups or individuals, to use in encouraging registration. These are freely available via the Commission’s website or its ‘Roll Call’ newsletter, to which anyone can subscribe.
We also identify specific organisations who could help promote registration to under-registered groups and actively provide these partners with resources: these have recently included, for example, the Council of African and Caribbean Churches and the Muslim Women’s network. It also works closely with Electoral Registration Officers, who hold many important relationships with church and community leaders to promote voter registration at a local level.
The Commission most recently contacted Operation Black Vote ahead of the Government’s voter ID pilots which took place in May 2019, to seek a contribution to its statutory evaluation of the pilots. It did not receive a response.