William Eichler 17 March 2017

‘Ambitious reforms’ needed to improve completeness of electoral registers

‘Ambitious reforms’ needed to improve completeness of electoral registers

A new report has found that while the local government electorate grew last year, ‘ambitious reforms’ are required to keep up with the pace of changes.

A new study published by the Electoral Commission found the size of the local government electorate in the UK increased by 2.5% on 2016. 47,350,696 voters were registered on 1 December.

However, despite this increase the Commission recommends that a more automatic registration process would help to further improve the completeness of the electoral registers.

The report also noted while the local government electorate rose in England, Scotland and Wales, it decreased in Northern Ireland – before rising again prior to the March Assembly election.

‘The electoral registers have grown following last year’s major electoral events, but we cannot be complacent as millions remain not correctly registered,’ said Claire Bassett, chief executive at the Electoral Commission.

‘The current annual canvass in Great Britain is no longer the most effective, or cost efficient, way of maintaining the registers; we will continue to work closely with the UK Government and local authorities to trial new methods that could further modernise the registration process.’

‘We believe that more automatic registration processes would greatly improve the system, with voters being added to the register after providing their details to other government services,’ she said.

‘A key example would be the automatic registration of young people when they are issued with a National Insurance number, helping to address historic under-registration of this age group.’

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