Opinion Former Article

Electoral Reform Society: The Missing Millions – government needs to think again on voter registration

The Electoral Reform Society has urged the government to think again on potentially 'catastrophic' proposals on electoral registration.

The Society warned MPs this week that plans to scrap the 2014 canvass and drop the legal duty for citizens to register could have a dire affect on registration rates. It is now asking parliamentarians to throw their support behind Chris Ruane MP’s Early Day Motion and debate the full impact of IVR.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:

“We welcomed the government’s plan to move on Individual Voter Registration, but we’re convinced the switch will cause a catastrophic fall in registered voters unless action is taken now.

“The government risks disenfranchising millions – including some of the most underprivileged and hardest to reach Britons who need a voice in parliament.

“According to the Government’s own Impact Assessment the transition to Individual Voter Registration could mean 20% or 7 million voters will drop off the register. This is equivalent of the entire population of Greater London no longer having a say in our democracy. And it’s not good enough.

“Chris Ruane has already tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the government to think again. It deserves the full support of all democrats in the House.”

Notes to editors:

When IVR was rolled out in Northern Ireland nearly 15% of the voters disappeared from the register.
According to the Government’s own Impact Assessment the transition to Individual Voter Registration could mean 20% or 7 million voters would be missing from the register (double the current best estimate of approximately 10%).
Younger voters, poorer voters and mobile city-dwellers are far and away the most likely to fall through the net.
The Electoral Commission has argued that IVR could see a reduction in registration rates from 92% to 60% over time.
Chris Ruane’s EDM 2187 is available here.
The Electoral Reform Society gave evidence to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee this week. Download full Submission here.
For more information, comment or interviews please contact Ashley Dé on 07968 791684 or email ashley.de@electoral-reform.org.uk

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