To: Electoral Commission

Give everyone in safe houses the right to vote.

7/09/16 - We Won!

The government has announced today that it will make it easier for people to register to vote anonymously. This is a fantastic victory for the thousands of people involved in this campaign.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/07/registering-to-vote-anonymously-to-be-made-easier

Ensure all survivors of domestic abuse who live in refuges and other safe houses can register to vote and use their Human Right to "vote in elections and have a say in the choice of government" (European Convention of Human Rights, Protocol 1, Article 3).

Why is this important?

I have found it impossible to register to vote as I live in a Safe House in Bristol. With the local elections happening right now, and the EU referendum coming up, I'm left without a vote, without a voice, without a say on local Councillor appointment, City Mayor, the Police Crime Commissioner position or whether we stay in or out of the EU. My struggle to register made me realise this is a huge issue that no one even realises.

As I live in a safe house it is vital for my safety that my name and address do not appear on the electoral register. The current system does provide an 'anonymous registration' process designed to protect vulnerable or at risk people who can't disclose their residential address. However this form requires evidenced approval through proven Court Injunction, written signature from a Police Superintendent or Adult Social Services management.

For many in my situation, (estimated at 70% of all residents in Bristol safe houses by support staff here) their registration would not be eligible for sign off. Taking away the civil right, human right that was fought so hard for back in 1918 that introduced the 'Representation of the People Act' allowing women the right to vote.

Across England there are over 250 independent refuges providing safe emergency accommodation for people fleeing domestic abuse. Thousands of people living in secure residential accommodation where location secrecy is of utmost importance. Thousands of people who will not be able to register to vote. That is a huge number of women being denied basic Human Rights. The Human Rights Act (1998) states "it is unlawful for public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with European Convention right".

Safe houses and refuges by their very nature ensure all residents staying with them are in need of safety and security after leaving abuse. Therefore having management level able to sign the anonymous registration form is more than enough evidence for each residents need for anonymity. Such a simple solution for such an important change that needs to be made.

Please sign and share this petition so we can no longer be kept in silence. Thank you.


Reasons for signing

  • Another reminder of how DA impacts on the lives of those living with the reality/consequences. We need to ensure people in this situation are able to fulfil their democratic right to vote and to be able to do so safely.
  • To provide support to women and children who are trying to escape violent situations.
  • Everyone should have a voice.

Updates

2017-05-23 02:56:37 +0100
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Petition is successful with 22,348 signatures

2017-05-11 22:18:40 +0100

Hi all! Just wanted to post an update to this as we are facing a Snap General Election right around the corner.

Sadly, the legislation is not in place on this yet.. so those in refuge and safe house provision are left without a vote again. There is much confidence that once the election is over, it will be put into policy.. but that is little comfort for the women contacting me now wanting to vote.

There are other options but would have to be considered on individual basis and risk assessment for them. As they would not be registering anonymously. If anyone would like some more information on some work arounds then please please get in touch.

I really understand how frustrating and upsetting it is to want to vote and not be able to. If I can help, I will. X

2017-05-09 10:29:40 +0100
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Petition is successful with 22,335 signatures

2017-03-19 12:13:05 +0000
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Petition is successful with 22,328 signatures

2017-01-19 19:04:42 +0000
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Petition is successful with 22,318 signatures

2016-11-21 15:00:11 +0000
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Petition is successful with 22,311 signatures

2016-11-18 10:42:31 +0000
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Petition is successful with 22,312 signatures

2016-09-19 16:10:44 +0100
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Petition is successful with 22,296 signatures

2016-09-07 12:27:01 +0100
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Petition is successful with 22,292 signatures

2016-06-23 21:51:59 +0100

20,000 signatures reached

2016-05-06 10:29:02 +0100

10,000 signatures reached

2016-05-05 18:24:48 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2016-05-05 14:12:59 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2016-05-05 13:46:44 +0100

500 signatures reached

2016-05-05 13:35:33 +0100

100 signatures reached

2016-05-05 12:27:15 +0100

50 signatures reached

2016-05-05 07:08:55 +0100

25 signatures reached

2016-05-04 20:30:55 +0100

10 signatures reached