Laura Sharman 14 August 2019

Eight million people missing from electoral register, report warns

Millions of people are not registered to vote correctly due to ‘persistent and serious’ problems with the way elections are run, a new report has warned today.

The report, published by the University of East Anglia, also reveals a ‘silent crisis’ in the UK electoral process with poor voter registration and funding cuts.

It calls on the Government to provide a website so people can check if they are registered, allowing citizens to vote at any polling station, create a centralised complaints system and registering young people in schools and universities.

Prof Toby James, from UEA’s school of Political, Social and International Studies, said: ‘There are persistent, serious problems in the way that elections are run. Eight million are not correctly registered to vote.

‘This problem has been growing over several decades, but it was made worse by recent reforms that now require everyone to register individually. It is particularly problematic for recent movers and private renters, Commonwealth and EU nationals, non-white ethnicities, lower socioeconomic groups, citizens with mental disabilities and young people.’

Prof James added: ‘Cash crises in the NHS and schools have regularly made headlines, but there has been a silent crisis in electoral services departments too. Cutbacks have long been in place and staff workloads and levels of stress have been shown to be excessively high.’

The report also highlights the fact there are 372 electoral registers and valuable resources are spent reminding people to register individually.

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