Electoral Register sees decrease of nearly one million voters

Posted by Jasmin Stopford in Electoral Roll on 16 April 2015 - Jasmin is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

The Electoral Commission have released figures detailing a fall of 920,000 registrations in the past year. The 2% reduction in the voter registration occurred between March and December 2014, which critics have blamed on the ways in which people are now able to register, as old systems have either been restricted or replaced entirely.

Previously, voters have been able to apply by household, or block/flat for students, but because of fraud concerns the rules have been changed meaning registrations now have to be carried out individually.

Sadiq Khan, Shadow Minister of Justice says of the decrease, “Ministers ignored warnings from experts, including the Electoral Commission, that young people, students and people living in private rented accommodation risked losing their vote, pushing ahead regardless, overriding sensible safeguards that would have prevented this from happening. Our elections are increasingly decided by a smaller and smaller section of society. That’s bad for democracy, and is storing up all sorts of problems for the future”.

The Government have insisted that numbers are beginning to turn around through simplistic registration facilities such as registration drives and online forms.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office explains, “The figures published are only a snapshot from December, and since then two million more people have applied to be registered to vote, including 100,000 attainers. The December registers also contain 98% of the number of people who were on the last registers before IER was introduced. This is a positive result, but we will continue our efforts to ensure that everyone has their say in how the country is run”.

The government has put an extra £6.8m into the electoral registration drive, in the hope that they are able to maintain the amount of registrations and as a result, votes. However, the Electoral Commission have still strongly advised that electoral roll officers undertake an audit of their registers and continue to write to all households before the May polls.

Graham Allen, of the political and constitutional reform concludes, “We have consistently called for the government, the Electoral Commission and local electoral registration officers, to do more to ensure electoral registration figures are not adversely affected by the move to IER”.

Households are urged to check that they are definitely registered on the Electoral Roll, to ensure that they are eligible to vote in the general elections in May. Online registration must be completed by 20th April 2015 to be included in the election vote and your credit report should reflect if you have been added to the electoral register at your current address.

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