Record number of people register to vote on deadline day after huge last-minute spike

Three quarters of registration applications are from people under 34-years-old

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 27 November 2019 09:13
General election: Registering people to vote in the street

A record number of people registered to vote on the final day applications were open, with a huge last-minute spike taking the number of people who applied to register on Tuesday to 659,666.

The previous record for a single day was ahead of the 2017 general election, when 622,398 applied. In 2015, 485,012 people applied to register on deadline day.

Since the general election was called there has been a total of 3.85 million applications to vote.

The figure is around 67 per cent higher than the 2.3 million applications to register in a similar period in the 2017 election, and the Electoral Reform Society said on Tuesday that of the applications made since October, 67 per cent were made by people aged 34 or under – a figure which is generally seen to be beneficial to Labour.

Of those who applied yesterday, 459,000 (70 per cent) were under 34 years old.

Young people made up the majority of those registering ahead of the deadline.

In comparison, just 4 per cent were aged 65 and older.

However, the millions who have applied does not necessarily expand the electoral register by the same number, as a proportion of applications come from many people already registered, and from those ineligible to vote.

The ERS estimated on Tuesday that around a million of those signing up were likely to represent duplicate applications.

The organisation’s director of policy and research, Jess Garland, said on Tuesday: “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.”

There is still thought to be a large number of unregistered people who would have been eligible to vote. The Electoral Commission estimated that up to 9.4 million people were missing from the electoral roll in December 2018.

Labour organisation Momentum said their voter registration adverts on Facebook had encouraged more than 120,000 people to register to vote, the vast majority of whom are young and live in marginal constituencies.

Laura Parker, Momentum’s national coordinator, said: “People of all ages who have never voted before now have a reason to. They have a chance to break with nine years of the same old Tories running the country into the ground by voting for real change with Labour. December 12 could be the date of the biggest establishment upset in British political history.”

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