One in five Londoners ‘unaware of May mayoral election’

Poll of 1,050 Londoners finds 18% do not know about the City Hall elections in five weeks’ time, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

City Hall

Around one in five Londoners are unaware that a mayoral election is taking place on 2nd May, new polling has found – with the figure twice as high among the capital’s youngest voters.

A poll of 1,050 Londoners, conducted by Focaldata and commissioned by the campaign group Hope Not Hate, has found that 18% do not know about the City Hall elections in five weeks’ time.

The figure rises to 36% among 18-24-year-olds, with the data also showing that voter ID rules could affect people’s willingness to vote.

Around one in seven Londoners – 14% – said they were not aware of the new requirement to show photo ID to cast their ballots.

The measure has been put in place by the government to “ensure that elections are better protected from the potential for voter fraud”.

The Electoral Commission has warned however that some people have found it harder than others to show valid ID – including disabled people, younger voters, people from ethnic minority communities, and the unemployed.

In Hope Not Hate’s poll, 12% of Londoners said they are less likely to vote because of the new rules, rising to 22% of 18-24-year-olds and 20% of Muslims.

The survey found that the cost of living was the highest-scoring ‘important issue’ for voters, with 54% selecting it, followed by affordable housing on 33% and crime on 29%. In a blow to Tory candidate Susan Hall, only 13% chose the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) – though she has argued that Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand the zone to cover all of London is a cost of living issue.

Some 24% of Londoners said that if they got to their polling station and had forgotten their photo ID, they would “forget about it and get on with [their] day”. The figure jumps to 37% among 18-24-year-olds.

Hope Not Hate CEO Nick Lowles said: “Making sure that everyone has a stake in our society and feels like they have a means to be heard is vital to ensuring that we maintain a strong and vibrant democracy.

“We’re worried that with these new laws, we will continue to see people more and more disengaged and disenfranchised from politics.”

The polling comes after repeated claims from Khan that hundreds of thousands of London voters could be “silenced” by the new requirements.

The government has pointed out that in 2023’s elections, which took place outside London, “the vast majority of voters in the polling station – 99.75% – cast their vote successfully”.

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