After the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced a ‘snap election’ to be held on Thursday 8 June, The Traveller Movement relaunched #OperationTravellerVote to ensure Gypsies Roma and Travellers are registered to vote and most importantly, have their voices heard during this important election.
The Traveller Movement have said the campaign will once again be a cross-community campaign, led by Gypsies Roma and Travellers to ensure the community is not treated as a political football and make sure the most pressing issues for the communities are listened to.
Although a lot of focus will be placed on increasing the number of Gypsies, Travellers and Roma registered to vote, the fact the election is just a few weeks away means the campaign will also be placing a strong emphasis on the issues and how they affect the communities.
To launch the campaign, the Traveller Movement published ‘five questions to ask your local candidates’ and a short briefing, to accompany the questions.
The Travellers’ Times spoke to Breda Mahoney, an Irish Traveller about the campaign. Breda said “every time there is an election, politicians try to use the community in a way to get more votes. They paint us in a negative way in a hope it will make them popular.”
Breda added “that is why at this election, it is so important for us to show to politicians that not only do our views matter, but that we are going to make sure our voices are heard!”
Alongside the questions Operation Traveller Vote will be working with the Electoral Commission and publishing information on social media, a simple step by step guide to registering to vote and emphasising the importance of engaging in politics. The Traveller Movement will also be breaking down different issues from the major parties.
The Chief Executive of Leeds Gate, Helen Jones said: “We will be encouraging all of our members to vote and work to remind all candidates that Gypsies and Travellers are also part of their electorate”.
Helen added “Too often this is forgotten. The community shares the interests of many, including secure accommodation, access to good health and education. We look forward to politicians listening to our members, their voters, in this upcoming election.”
As well as raising awareness within the GRT communities about the need to vote and engage with politics, the campaign will also challenge any politicians and parties who use prejudice and negativity toward the communities in an attempt to gain votes.
Yvonne MacNamara, the Chief Executive of the Traveller Movement said that “while the election came as a surprise, it offers a real opportunity for GRT communities to show those seeking office they must listen to them” and that if they are elected “they have a duty to represent Gypsies Roma and Travellers too”.
Find out more about #OperationTravellerVote and the full Traveller Movement briefing on five questions to ask you candidates for the election by downloading the PDF below
Operation Traveller Vote
5 questions to ask your candiates before you decide who to vote for