General election: Huge spike in voter registrations is 38% higher than 2017, figures indicate

Majority of those signing up as deadline looms are people under 34-years-old

Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 26 November 2019 15:26
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General Election 2019: What you need to know

There has been a “huge increase” in voter registration compared to the 2017 general election, according to the Electoral Reform Society.

Before the final deadline at midnight on 26 November, there have been 3,191,193 applications to register in the period from the day the election was called on 29 October to midnight on Monday.

That’s an average of 114,000 per day.

The figure is 38 per cent higher than the 2,315,893 applications to register in a similar period in the 2017 election, which equated to an average of 68,000 registrations per day.

The Electoral Reform Society said that of the applications made since the election was called in October, so far 2,125,064 applications (67 per cent of the total) were made by people aged 34 or under.

And as the cut-off for registration grows closer, an even greater proportion of young people are registering. On Monday, 366,443 people applied to register, with 72 per cent of applications from people aged 34 or under

It also said millions of people could still be missing from the electoral roll today. The Electoral Commission estimated that up to 9.4m were missing from the electoral roll in December 2018.

Dr Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society, said: “This surge in registrations is highly encouraging, given the huge numbers missing from the electoral roll. We’re seeing a major uplift in new registrations compared to the last election, with large numbers of young people signing up too – a traditionally under-registered demographic.

“It’s vital we close the demographic divides in terms of who is registered. This is a strong start.”

She added: “However, since you cannot check whether you’re registered already, we estimate over a million of the registrations we’ve seen are likely to be duplicates. We urgently need to update our archaic registration system to bring in the ‘missing millions’.”

The Electoral Reform Society is calling for a “registration revolution”, in which citizens are automatically registered to vote so applying is no longer necessary.

Dr Garland said: “In the last few hours left before the deadline, we call on everyone to do all they can to spread the word and make this an election that is truly representative. But crucially, we need all parties commit to backing universal, automatic registration and a system fit for the 21st century.”

If you are yet to apply to register to vote, you can do so at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

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