Letter: Democracy and the missing millions

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your editorial 'Better way to find missing voters' (9 September) is very welcome. It's the first time a quality national paper has addressed the fact that, according to the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys' (OPCS) figures, some 3.4 million people are missing from electoral registers. This should be seen by democrats of all parties as deeply disturbing, regardless of real or perceived party advantage or disadvantage. As you say, it means that the political system loses legitimacy.

However, the Home Office seems to be lethargic. Its post-election review - which nodded in the direction of a rolling register but baulked at possible cost (what price democracy?) - is now gathering dust. Baroness Blatch, the new minister responsible for electoral matters, should now dust it off and advance plans to modernise the voter registration system, boost effective local and national publicity campaigns and improve disabled access to polling stations and voting procedures.

Perhaps I could be helpful. My Private Member's Bill, which commands support from MPs of all political parties, proposes all the above and with Government time could go quickly through the Commons.

Yours faithfully,

HARRY BARNES

MP for North East Derbyshire (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

9 September

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