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'You've got it so use it'

VOTE POWER: Camille Ade-John

“YOU’VE GOT it, so use it” – this is the slogan behind a new independent grassroots organisation that wants to encourage more African and Caribbean people to use the power of their vote as another General Election looms ever closer next year.

The politically neutral group called TickIT will launch the campaign in both Birmingham and Wolverhampton on Wednesday February 5 to encourage people to register so they are ready to vote.

It’s already well known that people of African and Caribbean heritage can become a significant political force in 56 of the 168 marginal Parliamentary seats in the 2015 General Election.

If the voting patterns of others going to the polls remain unchanged, then voters of African and Caribbean descent can decide who will win in those 56 seats. TickIT is also looking to inform and educate the community about the power of their votes.

Camille Ade-John, chair of TickIT, said: “The voting record of our people is historically low due to a lack of confidence that politicians will not do anything to address our concerns. We have to take the initiative and tell people about the political leverage and influence we now have through our votes.”

A recent study by Operation Black Votes states that unless political candidates engage and seek to win black and minority support, there could be a setback in their election prospects. Some ethnic demographic calculations even suggest that there is a race deficit that could cost political parties between 20 and 40 seats in the 2015 elections.

TickIT is working in partnership with the Church of God of Prophecy and is staffed by community activist and concerned individuals who all work in a voluntary capacity.

The group firmly believes that one of the ways to challenge disparity in such issues as stop and search, unemployment and funding cuts to community groups, is through the ballot box.

Chester Morrison, a TickIT organiser, added: “There is a demographic deficit that results in those who do not vote being unable to realise their potential, and to influence the decision making process within society.

“The effect of this is to make society less demographic because the structures operate even when only a minority of people vote.”

Recognising that the UK elections can no longer be won by politicians who cater only for their own core support, TickIT is targeting marginal seats in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and London.

Bishop Wilton Powell, of the Church of God of Prophecy, said: “It’s time that we moved from the margins for the transformation of our communities by using our votes.”

TickIT organisers will be at One Stop shopping centre, Walsall Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham, B42 1AA between 12 noon and 2pm on Wednesday February 5. Then later between 6pm and 7.30pm at the Heritage Centre, Clifford Street, Wolverhampton.

For more information contact Camille Ade-John, Walaa Idris or Monica Coke on 0121 454 9969

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