The Elections Act (2022) is changing the way we vote in London, especially with the introduction of mandatory photo voter identification. London already had one of the lowest voter registration rates across the UK and polling commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA)* showed that one in ten Londoners were at risk of losing their democratic voices, as they did not hold an accepted form of photo ID, as specified in the Elections Act, and 6 in 10 did not even know about these changes. This is on top of the structural barriers already faced by under-represented communities who were more likely to become further disenfranchised, on top of being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.
Hence, in January 2023, the GLA and Shout Out UK (SOUK) launched an unprecedented, and impartial public awareness campaign to raise awareness about these changes to ensure every eligible Londoner can continue to access their democratic rights and have a say in the decisions that impact them and the issues that matter to them. The Voter ID campaign has been run in coordination with the nation-wide Electoral Commission campaign and bolstered by the support of a broad network of London boroughs, civil society organisations and educational institutions.
The first phase of the campaign took place between16 January and 31 March and harnessed the power of the #NoVoteNoVoice slogan in order to grow the existing London Voter Registration Week coalition of support, deliver in-person activities and expand to new audiences through a social media campaign.
In the lead up to the campaign launch, the GLA and SOUK co-designed and co-produced print and digital resources with under-represented and under-registered London communities. As a result, we created a dynamic and diverse content deck, for various audiences and platforms, which included awareness of the accepted forms of photo ID to vote, how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, and that the first step remains the need to register to vote. On top of this, we produced educational materials for civic and democratic engagement lessons, accessible resources for Deaf and disabled Londoners, resources in the top 10 community languages spoken in London and a community-led film highlighting the in-person activities that took place throughout the first phase of the campaign.
Over 360 stakeholders, made up of civil society organisations, influencers, brands, local authorities in and outside of London and educational institutions, posted and/ or engaged with the campaign throughout the three months. This huge network of partners and organic supporters shows the myriad of voices in London helping to disseminate vital Voter ID resources through their internal channels and via their social media platforms. The Voter ID community film produced by SOUK had almost 350,000 views on Twitter alone and 22,000 on YouTube. The information Voter ID animation received almost 117,000 views on Twitter and 40,000 on YouTube.
In total, through our organic posts and paid social media ads, SOUK had a reach of over 36 million, over 575,000 engagements and 6.5 million impressions.
On top of the digital campaign work, SOUK delivered a number of in person and online community engagement events, helping the campaign reach 3,750 Londoners, including Deaf and disabled Londoners and older Londoners. Furthermore, SOUK partnered up with the3million, the largest EU grassroots organisation in the UK, to deliver eight in-person events targeting a key audience that will be affected by the voting system changes: EU and migrant Londoners. These events brought communities together to learn about Voter ID and how they can continue to exercise their democratic and civic rights in this wonderful city we all call home. The events were all live streamed, giving the informational sessions longevity beyond phase one of the campaign.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard about any of this. Before I didn’t know about the Greater London Authority, the boroughs or parish councils, or how they work. I think it’s really important that projects like these exist, where you go into schools and teach us how these systems work. It means that we can see how we can have an effect on society, not just by being heard, but also by making a tangible difference.”
– Year 13 student, Bridge Academy
In this first phase, SOUK also delivered civic and democratic engagement lessons to 625 young Londoners across five educational institutions, encouraging them to register to vote and learn about the importance of civic and democratic participation. These in-person activities invigorated the social media campaign and the coalition of support to continue sharing these Voter ID resources far and wide because to put it simply, #NoVoteNoVoice.
The hope for the next phase of the campaign is to build on the successes of the first phase and to ensure the multitude of voices that make up London are aware of the changes brought about by the Elections Act and continue to be able to use their voice and their vote.
It’s up to every one of us to make a difference. Here are some ways you can get involved:
- If you are a Londoner – make sure you have an accepted photo ID to vote or apply for the free Voter Authority Certificate and spread the word to your family, friends and in your community to help reach as many Londoners as possible.
- Share our Voter ID 2023 resources by visiting the GLA Democracy Hub https://registertovote.london/ to learn more about what these changes mean for you.
- Stay informed about the campaign by following Shout Out UK on Twitter (@Shoutout_UK), Facebook (@ShoutOutUK) and Instagram (@shoutoutuk_official)
And remember: Voting rights are changing. London is preparing. Are you ready? #NoVoteNoVoice
*The survey was carried out online by YouGov Plc. for the Greater London Authority. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th and 24th August 2022 with a total sample size of 1,245 London residents. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+). https://data.london.gov.uk/gla-poll-results/2022-2/