Bite the Ballot

Bite the Ballot (BtB) is a community interest company and charity that aims to get more young people registered to vote and voting. Our London office has been supporting BtB in three ways: through pro bono public policy advice to drive key legislative change to increase the number of young voters; through pro bono legal advice, for example by registering BtB as a charity and advising on BtB's legislative and political agendas; and through education and awareness initiatives, like helping to run workshops to register young voters.

BtB is one of London's three largest pro bono clients, with 45 lawyers providing more than 770 hours of pro bono advice at a value of over £402,000. Our public policy work has included drafting a Private Member's Bill the Voter Registration Bill, which has been introduced into the House of Lords and the House of Commons and incorporates a duty on electoral registration officers to actively engage with schools and colleges to ensure the electoral roll is up-to-date in England and Wales (similar to the duty in Northern Ireland). Before 2014, no major party considered the issue of engaging young people to register. We have also secured policy manifesto pledges from four of five major parties to introduce the Voter Registration Bill and corresponded with MPs, Ministers, the Electoral Commission, and the Cabinet Office to push for substantive changes.

Our legal advice has resulted in the creation of Bite News, a joint venture company between Jamal Edwards of SBTV and BtB, with over 3,000 subscribers and 210,000 views on YouTube. We also guided BtB in the development of Leaders Live - a "question time" program with four of the major party leaders, hosted on social media in the run-up to the general election.

As a result of our education and awareness initiatives, we have registered more than 650 young people to vote in Islington. We also were active in helping BtB prepare for the inaugural National Voter Registration Day in 2014, which saw 35,000 young people register to vote. In its second year in 2015, more than 420,000 people registered.

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