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Millions risk being unable to vote as registration deadline looms

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SO far only 1.1m applications to register to vote have been made since the election was called, ahead of the voter registration deadline on Tuesday, June 18th. Last year, the Electoral Commission found that up to 8 million people were not registered to vote or registered incorrectly.  

If the spike before the local elections is included this number rises only to 1.8m in total. The Electoral Reform Society is urging any unregistered voters to take the time to register this week to ensure they can cast their vote on July 4. The easiest way to register is via the government portal at gov.uk/register-to-vote

There are substantial demographic inequalities in terms of the different people more likely to be registered to vote. Electoral Commission figures show that young people are far less likely to be registered to vote than older people, with 60% of 18 and 19-year-olds registered in Great Britain and 67% of 20-24-year-olds, compared to 96% of over 65s.  

Private renters are far less likely to be registered (65% in GB) compared to homeowners, 95% of whom are registered.

Voters who are registered also face a new potential barrier to casting their vote next month, as this will be the first general election where they will be required to show Voter ID at the polling station. Figures by the Electoral Commission show that 14,000 voters have already been prevented from casting their vote due to not having an accepted form of ID at last year’s local elections. 

The Electoral Reform Society is calling for the next Government to make this the last election where voters must register to vote by bringing in Automatic Voter Registration (AVR). Wales is planning to introduce AVR, with legislation progressing through the Senedd currently. This should be introduced for 2026, pending a successful pilot.  

The ERS is calling for AVR to be rolled out across the whole of the UK to make it easier for people to cast their vote and enfranchise the millions of missing voters. 

Willie Sullivan, Senior Director of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “With just a week to go before the voter registration deadline, the number of applications to register is being dwarfed by the amount of people missing from our electoral roles. This means a huge effort is needed to avoid millions of people being locked out of being able to have their say in the general election.

“Participation is a vital sign of the health of our democracy, so it is crucial that as many people as possible are able to vote on July 4. We are urging anyone still unregistered to take the time over the next week to register ahead of the deadline next Tuesday. 

“We are also calling on whoever is in government after July 4 to bring in Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) to make sure we are not in the scandalous situation again of having millions of people unable to vote due to being unregistered. 

“Moving to AVR would make life easier for voters by taking one more thing off their to-do list and strengthen our democracy by helping enfranchise the millions of people missing from our electoral roles.” 

News

Freemens Way closed by police after fears for person’s welfare

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FREEMENS WAY in Haverfordwest was closed briefly on Saturday (Jun 15) after members of the pubic became concerned for the welfare of a person on the bridge above.

Dyfed-Powys Police after they received a call expressing a concern for the welfare of a person on the bridge at around 3.55pm.

Police confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald that they closed Freemen’s Way for around 20 minutes before it was reopened.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Police received a call for a concern for the welfare of an individual at approx. 3.55pm Saturday June 15, on the bridge at Freemans Way.

“The road was closed for approx. 20 minutes before being re-opened. The individual was left in the care of family.”

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Charity

Tributes paid to Pembrokeshire RNLI stalwart, Jeffrey Thompson

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ON TUESDAY (Jun 18), the funeral of former St Davids Lifeboat crew member Jeffrey Thompson was held at Seion Baptist Chapel, New Street, St Davids. Jeffrey passed away on 2nd June at Withybush Hospital, leaving behind his wife, Nina. He was a cherished father, grandfather, brother, family member, and friend.

Jeffrey began his service at St Davids RNLI lifeboat station in 1975, initially as a member of the shore crew for 11 years. In 1986, he joined the all-weather lifeboat crew. By 1995, he had risen to the position of deputy second coxswain, a role he held until his retirement in 2002.

The crew at St Davids RNLI expressed their sorrow at Jeffrey’s passing, stating, “St Davids RNLI is saddened to learn of the recent death of former crew member Jeffrey Thompson. He gave an incredible 27 years of service. We send Jeff’s family our condolences at this sad time.”

Former St Davids Lifeboat coxswain, Dai Chant, paid tribute, saying, “Jeff was one of my top crew members and a man you could rely on in bad weather shouts. May he rest in peace.”

Will Chant, the current coxswain and son of Dai Chant, shared his memories: “When I started in 1996, Jeff was a fantastic crew member to have as a mentor. He was humble, always gave you his time, and was steadfast in the most demanding of situations. A calm but assured figure on the crew, brilliant on the deck, and a great rope worker. If the lifeboat needed to tow a vessel, he was the man to operate the deck. He made rope mats for the lifeboat station and even repaired a flagpole using his rope whipping skills. A keen countryman, he would fish the local waters on his boat and also shoot for game birds. Jeff worked in the merchant navy and for Stena Europe for many years.”

Jeffrey’s former neighbour, Paul Sage, who grew up alongside him in Heol Dewi, St Davids, fondly remembered a time in the 60s when Jeffrey brought a monkey home from his time at sea. “He spent most of his life at sea in the Merchant Navy. He loved being outdoors, shooting, and fishing,” Paul said. “He was a hell of a character, always leg-pulling and joking. A lovely character.”

Jeffrey’s funeral took place at 11.30 am today. Donations, if desired, can be made to the Paul Sartori Foundation via WG Bernard Matthias & Daughter, 62 New Street, St Davids, SA62 6SU.

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Business

First Cymru bus workers secure 11.6% pay increase

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UNITE, the UK’s leading union, has secured an inflation busting 11.6 per cent pay increase for bus drivers employed by First Cymru.

The 300 plus drivers operate buses in South and West Wales working from depots in Swansea, Bridgend, Ammanford, Port Talbot, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest.

The pay deal, which was hammered out through long and detailed negotiations, will see pay increase by 11.6 per cent over a six month period. In addition, there will also be improvements in overtime and weekend rates.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is an excellent result and demonstrates the power of having Unite in your corner to improve jobs, pay and conditions.”

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Sarah Davies said: “Unite will be looking to build on this significant pay deal in future negotiations.

“Our members at First Cymru recognise the importance of being represented by Unite and all workers looking for a better deal should join Unite and get their colleagues to join too.”

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