Star Wars actor urges more BME people to cast votes after 1.4m unused in 2015

SHARE THIS STORY
Star Wars' Riz Ahmed urged black and ethnic minorit people to vote, warning against 'sitting on the sidelines' in the election
Star Wars' Riz Ahmed urged black and ethnic minorit people to vote, warning against 'sitting on the sidelines' in the election
19 May 2017 5:45PM

Actor Riz Ahmed has led calls for more black and ethnic minority (BME) people to vote as stark figures reveal 1.4 million votes were wasted in the last election.

The Star Wars: Rogue One star decided to speak out ahead of the voter registration deadline on May 22, starring in an online video where he warned against "sitting on the sidelines" during the election. 

Some 28% of BME voters are not registered for the poll, yet there is a significant black and minority population in some of the UK's most marginal seats, according to Operation Black Vote, who have launched the Blacks Don't Vote campaign.

Describing the video as the most important film he has ever made, Mr Ahmed said: "The reason we are making this film is because blacks don't vote, and by black people I mean ethnic minorities of all backgrounds.

"We just don't vote. It's kind of embarrassing to say at the last election we threw away 1.4 million votes.

"Now I get it, I understand why it's really easy to feel that our politicians don't take notice of us and nothing will change anyway.

"But sitting on the sidelines is a sure-fire way to change nothing at all."

Entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, who launched influential YouTube channel SBTV when he was 15 years old, has also filmed a video for the campaign.

He said: "We have the power to demand more from our Government and ask questions like why is not more money put into the poorest areas of the UK?

"Why is unemployment three times higher than the national average in a BME community?

"Why aren't there more CEOs, judges and MPs from a minority group?

"We can change the future of our country for the better. It's not just for us, it's for everyone."

The voter registration deadline is Monday, May 22. Visit www.blacksdontvote.com.