Thursday, 3 December 2009

Pay £1000 for right not to vote?

In the latest issue of Hackney Today Jules Pipe says: "A wide-ranging campaign this year to increase the number of people on the electoral role, has resulted in 10,000 more residents being able to vote in Hackney."

I'll be one of those new ones on the electoral role. Nothing like the threat of a £1000 fine! I don't know if that threat was about voting or if it had more to do with the 2011 census. Either way it worked.

The turnout for the 2005 General Election in Hackney South and Shoreditch was 49.7% and in Hackney North and Stoke Newington it was 49.6%. I assume that the 50% who didn't vote were on the electoral role. An increase in 10,000 disinterested voters on the electoral role could make the turnout even worse.

But nothing much seems to work. In 2005, in neighbouring Bethnal Green and Bow, the massively hyped contest between George Galloway and Oona King - which saw Galloway win by 823 votes - pulled a 52% turnout. That was up 4 percentage points on the 48% in 2001. So even a dramatic battle doesn't make much difference to inner city voters with an average turnout at 10% below the national average.

The figures come from the Guardian and can be found most easily on

For something vaguely related: Navel-gazing intro, Candi-dating in Hackney


  1. Where did I go wrong? I have avoided being on the electoral role since my return to the UK... I feel there there is enough info about me available to anyone that the less I can do to propagate, the better for my privacy, especially having a rather nasty stalker on my tail.

    A few months ago some woman with a Hackney council ID knocked on my door wanting me to fill it out but I told her I was busy. She came back a few weeks later and reminded me about the fine....we then got talking about other things including her moving to another area to get her kids out of Hackney and how well they were doing...I asked her if she got paid per sign up and she said yes. I filled the form out giving an AKA. Besides she was from the motherland and we got talking about that.

    I'm not going to be forced to vote.

  2. You have much better reasons for not registering than I do. But this big effort to round up all the lazy and disinterested citizens (that's me, not you) probably hasn't got anything to do with whether or not we vote. I've been here nearly 10 years and don't remember the £1000 threat before. Next year is the census which takes place every 10 years and I imagine that this drive has something to do with that. But I really haven't got a clue. May be the rules have changed.

    And sorry for the delay in replying. I get so few comments on this blog I forget to check! I read your blog lots - I'll have to start commenting too!