William Eichler 30 April 2019

Over 500,000 apply to register to vote ahead of local elections

Over half a million people have applied to register to vote in the upcoming local elections, according to the Electoral Commission.

An estimated 570,000 people applied to join the electoral register across England and Northern Ireland. This is 36% more than expected.

The commission had aimed to reach 400,000 applications in England and 22,000 in Northern Ireland.

Some applicants may already be on the electoral register and so the final number of new voters on the electoral role is likely to be lower.

The Electoral Commission’s target is 280,000 registered voters.

Craig Westwood, the Electoral Commission’s director of communications and research, emphasised the importance of the commission’s campaigns for encouraging people to apply for registration.

‘Our campaigns are important, as we know the general level of public awareness around registration is not universally high,’ he wrote on the Electoral Commission’s website.

‘Our most recent assessment – a pre-poll tracking survey in England ahead of the 2 May local elections – found that only 11% of people know that the deadline is two to three weeks before the poll. 28% had no idea of when the deadline was at all.’

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