Burngreave Messenger.
Issue 40 April 2004

X marks the spot

by Ony Bright

All over Europe the rise of parties like the British National Party (BNP) is a worrying trend. With elections in June 2004 it’s imperative that you use your vote or register to vote if you haven’t yet done so.

Operation Black Vote (OBV) began in July 1996 as a collaboration between two organisations, Charter 88 (which campaigns for electoral reform) and The 1990 Trust, the only national Black policy research and networking organisation that uses information technology as a primary method of communication.

One of OBV’s guiding principles is a firm belief that as an organisation it must work to ensure that African, Caribbean, Asian and other ethnic groups have a strong political voice in order to achieve equality of opportunity. OBV’s ultimate goal is for “a fair, just and inclusive democracy. One that allows our creativity, energy and talent to fulfill its potential and enhance British society.” To find out more about the work of OBV check out www.obv.org.uk

All over the world people have been brutalized, tortured, and killed for fighting for the right to have something that we take for granted – the right to vote in and for a free and democratic society. The many crises we are experiencing in the UK cannot be blamed on ‘rampant illegal immigration’, ‘scrounging asylum seekers’, or ‘unnecessary positive action’. We now live in a society where there is a marked division between the marginalised and the mainstream, the poor and the protected, and the educated and the ignorant. Fear can feed on ignorance and it’s this that is the greatest asset of far right groups.

All blood is red. Suffering, pain and hunger are neither colour nor culture bound... they feel the same whoever you are.

Registration deadline for this year’s elections: 13th April.

•Am I eligible to vote?

In the UK you must be over 18 and have your name on the electoral register to vote. You must be a British Commonwealth or EU citizen. Citizens of EU countries other than the UK and the Irish Republic cannot vote in Westminster Parliamentary elections and must complete a form (UC1) to vote in European Parliamentary Elections.
Members of the armed forces can register as a service voter or fill in the standard voter registration form. Residents of psychiatric hospitals, homeless people and remand prisoners can register to vote using a declaration of local connection form. Contact Sheffield City Council on 273 4093 for details.

•Worried about your personal details?

The law governing access to your personal details held on the electoral register has changed. Up until 2002 anyone could buy a copy of the electoral register for any purpose. There are now two versions of the register, a full and an edited version; when you fill in your voter registration form you can choose which version you prefer to be on.

•Registering to vote

Voter registration forms are available in many languages, including Arabic, Somali and Urdu. You can download them from the internet or get them from Sheffield City Council on 273 4093. As well as different languages, forms are also available in Braille, large print or audio formats.


Registration deadline 13th April.

Am I eligible to vote?

Worried about your personal details?

Registering to vote

see below

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Index for Issue 39 March 2004.