Biggest change to voter registration in a generation

Posted on: 17 July 2014

Mid Devon residents, along with the rest of the country, will be receiving a letter this week regarding Individual Electoral Registration, informing them of what, if anything, they need to do next.

Individual Electoral Registration (IER) will verify that everyone on the electoral register is who they say they are. This will ensure that there is greater trust in the legitimacy and fairness of our elections.

This change gets rid of the outdated ‘head of household’ registration system and places electoral registration in the hands of individuals. The process is supported by a new online system which makes registering easier than ever. People can now register by simply providing their name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number in what is a secure, convenient, and modern way of registering to vote and takes as little as three minutes. Please go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Under the new system, around 80% of those already on the electoral register will be automatically added after their name and address is matched against existing government records. Those people who are not successfully matched may need to provide additional information to be registered, but can do so on the new online electoral registration system.

Minister of State at the Cabinet Office Greg Clark said “It is only right that in a country which has such a long and proud history of democratic participation, we ensure that we have an electoral registration system fit for the 21st century”.

Notes to editors

  1. Letters will be sent from councils in England and Wales during July and August. This will inform the public of the changes to the electoral system brought in under IER, how these changes affect them, and whether they need to do anything. The majority of people (around 80%) who are registered to vote at the moment will transfer automatically to the new system. Some people will need to provide extra information – their National Insurance number and date of birth – and their letter will tell them how to do this.
  2. The Electoral Commission is running a public awareness campaign to help make sure people respond to the letter they receive.
  3. Cabinet Office recently provided £4.2 million funding to local authorities to help improve registration among certain groups of electors, such as students or home movers to help make the register as accurate and complete as possible. The new system, in particular the online application, will make it easier and more convenient for young people in particular to get onto the register.
  4. The new online electoral registration system is the third of the government’s 25 digital exemplars to go live.

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