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9 in 10 automatically transfer to the new system for voter registration

An innovative IT system has enabled most electors to transition to Individual Electoral Registration without submitting a new application.

A report published today shows that under Individual Electoral Registration (IER) nearly 9 in 10 electors in England and Wales have been automatically added to the electoral register, meaning maximum convenience for the vast majority of people.

IER replaces the old and outdated household registration system and places electoral registration in the hands of individuals. Not only does this give people more control and ownership over the process, but increases the accuracy of the register – with the new system able to help verify that everyone on the register is who they say they are.

Under the new system, an elector’s name and address is matched against existing government records and the results are then passed to Electoral Services Teams to complete the application. This process began in England and Wales on 10 June 2014 and today’s report shows that nearly 90% (over 36 million people) have been successfully matched and automatically added to the new register without having to do anything. This gives electoral administrators the opportunity to ensure that the register is as complete as possible by focusing their resources on the minority of electors who cannot be confirmed, as well as those currently not registered.

The 1 in 10 people not matched and those making new applications will need to provide additional information to be registered, but the government has made the process as simple as possible by launching a quick, easy and secure online application process. In fact, people can now register online in just 3 minutes by simply providing a name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number. Since the launch of IER in June, more than 2 million people have registered to vote, with the vast majority using the new online service and reporting a satisfaction rate of over 90%.

Minister for the Constitution Sam Gyimah said:

The electoral register is central to our democracy and by introducing IER we’re ensuring that we have a system fit for the 21st century.

As today’s report shows, we’ve exceeded our expectations of the number of people who will be automatically registered, and this demonstrates the success of what’s been a complex IT project and historic electoral transition.

But we know there are still people who are not registered so we’ll keep pushing ahead to ensure that as many people as possible have a say in how the country is run.

Cabinet Office has provided £4.2 million in funding to local authorities to help improve registration among under-registered groups, including students and home movers, to help make the register as accurate and complete as possible. The new system will make it easier and more convenient for young people in particular to get onto the register.

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