Election experts have called for action to register the ‘missing millions’ of voters, warning that the forthcoming general election was starting from a 'democratically dubious position'.
The comment by the Electoral Reform Society followed a surge in registrations following the announcement of the nationwide poll on December 12.
Willie Sullivan, the society's senior director, said there were still 9.4m people missing from the register and there was 'a long way to go' before the gap was closed.
He said: 'This election campaign is starting from a democratically dubious position, with campaigners rushing to register people while also trying to discuss the real issues.
'This huge registration backlog is a real issue of political inequality, with stark differences in registration levels among different groups.
'Younger people and renters are most at risk of being missing from the register, so it’s welcome to see this surge in registrations from the missing millions.
'We cannot be complacent – this election must see the biggest registration drive this country has seen to ensure it genuinely represents all of us.
'Fundamentally though, all parties need to commit to ensuring we have a universal franchise – where registration isn’t the luck of the draw but is part of your guaranteed voter rights.'
The Electoral Commission has warned the difficulties of running well-run elections are increasing.