Today is the last opportunity to register to vote for the 4 July election (registration closes at midnight). Nearly everyone reading this will be registered to vote. But what about your children and grandchildren? You friends? If they are 18 years old by 4 July they should register to vote. Some people who have moved house have not changed their address and need to re-register.

Registration is a simple online process that requires no more than you to give your personal details and your NI number.

There are a surprising number of people not registered to vote. The Electoral Commission estimates that up to 8 million eligible people across the UK are not registered to vote. In the new constituency of South Shropshire, I estimate more than 4,600 people are not registered to vote. That includes about 500 people in Ludlow.

So many people don’t vote, particularly young people. In 2022, 30% of people aged 18 to 34 were not registered to vote, compared to just 3% of people aged 65 or over. This difference is quite ironic as most young people I know have strong opinions.

One of the reasons we are in the mess we are in is because a lot of people do not vote. If everyone voted, we could, I hope, get the politicians we deserve rather than those who play the political game best. Get politicians who are interested in us, not themselves.

Worldwide, not all elections are free. Some rigged. Some gerrymandered. Some violent with intimidation, even assassination of candidates. The elections in the UK, despite their imperfections, are still regarded as free elections. That is why it is important to vote, not only to elect the representatives we want but to keep democracy alive.

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