I’m furious. I’d heard that people were being asked for National Insurance numbers when registering to vote a while ago, and been mildly irritated at the time. I then heard about it again around the EU referendum, so by now I thought people would know, as I did, that it wasn’t actually required but might delay your registration a bit if you didn’t provide it.
I wasn’t thinking and challenging what’s going on in our democracy, even though it gets more and more fixed and gerrymandered every year. Even in a world where Scotland speaks with one voice and elects 95% of its MPs from a single party, she can still be completely ignored by the parliamentry system and UK government, so I really should have been paying more attention. I’ve been worn down by all the nonsense over these last few years, and that’s something I need to change, but it’s not what I’m furious about.
Today, I was begging for some babysitting from my little brother when he gets back from Uni for the summer. He mentioned he would be getting back between the 6th and 8th of June, which rang some alarm bells…
Little roadblocks like this are enough to stop people registering, even intelligent capable people like Felix. Some people will be tempted to start victim blaming and say things like “well a simple web search could have told him the answer”, but you don’t expect to have to check an online form from your council actually requires all the things it asks for. You do what he did, and go and try to get what it’s asking for, and end up not being able to register in time.
These little things are abuses of power, many little cuts to our already pretty poor democracy in the name of cynically keeping power. An actual, bring-your-passport-to-the-polling place trial of voter ID is already scheduled for 2018. We need to stand up against this stuff, and remember ahead of time to get people to jump through these stupid hoops so that they aren’t disenfranchised. I’m just upset that I didn’t think to do that for my brother, and that it’s now too late.