Speaking at a conference in Coventry on getting young people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds engaged in the democratic process, democracy minister Bridget Prentice said that as many as two thirds of 18 to 25-year-olds choose to stay at home rather than vote.
Ms Prentice said:
'A healthy democracy needs engagement from everyone, throughout the year - not just at election time. I want a democracy that provides equal opportunity and voice for all.
'I am delighted to see local initiatives such as Champions to Vote in Coventry that seek to encourage participation in our democracy. These Champions will be actively working with all the communities in Coventry by being role models to encourage young people to register to vote and take an active part in our democracy.'
The conference, at Coventry City Council, was organised by Minorities of Europe, Coventry Voluntary Services Council and Coventry Ethnic Minority Action Partnership.
An estimated 3.5 million voters nation-wide are not on the electoral register.
As part of its drive to improve the electoral system, the DCA introduced the Electoral Administration Act this year, which places new duties on electoral administrators (council officials who run
elections) to find hard-to-reach voters.
1. For more on elections see here.
2. Figures are from the Electoral Commission report Understanding electoral registration.
3. Minorities of Europe, based in Coventry, is a Pan European inter-minority network which seeks to support and assist co-operation, solidarity and exchange between different minority communities and young people in Europe. Its aims and objectives are:
* To support and promote positive intercultural relations between minority and majority communities.
* To overcome mutual prejudice among minorities and majorities and the perception of powerlessness that minority young people often feel.
* To provide a framework for co-operation and exchange between minority groups, especially those who feel most isolated in Europe.
* To contribute to the development of an inter-cultural Europe, open to and based upon the contribution and participation of all communities, particularly those facing exclusion and alienation from the process of European integration.