Did you know that 9 million people in Britain are not properly registered to vote? It’s a remarkable fact! Our in-depth report takes a closer look at the need to modernise and makes several proposals to fix the creaking system in the UK.
The report, by Professor Toby James from our School of Political, Social & International Studies, reveals a ‘silent crisis’ in UK electoral processes brought about by funding cuts and poor voter registration.
In electoral terms, Professor James believes that Britain has been living in the past. The report paints a vivid picture of a “Victorian system in need of repair”. The cracks have been papered over - but won’t hold forever.
Recent reforms that require everyone to register individually have made the problem worse. Particularly for the most vulnerable in our society. The worst affected include recent movers, private renters, non-white ethnicities, lower socioeconomic groups and people with mental disabilities.
Many people assume they are registered to vote because they pay their council tax or have a National Insurance number. But that level of data connectivity simply isn’t there. As Professor James says, “Such common sense doesn’t exist.” In fact, instead of one single electoral register - there are nearly 372.
Our report makes many suggestions, such as:
- Provide a website, so people can check if they are registered.
- Register young people in schools and universities.
- Provide a centralised complaints system.
- Allow people to vote at any polling station.
Professor James hopes that these measures will help to fix the UK’s broken voter registration system.
“Cash crises in the NHS and schools have regularly made headlines. But there has been a silent crisis in electoral services departments too. Cutbacks have long been in place and staff workloads and levels of stress have been shown to be excessively high.” -
- Toby James, Professor of Political, Social & International Studies