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
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.
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
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.