UK Politics

Voter registration to start in 2014

Ballot boxes

Individual voter registration for British elections will come into force as planned in June 2014, ministers say.

Each member of a household will have to register to vote individually to help cut fraud.

At the moment, the "head of the household" supplies details of other people living at the address.

The Electoral Commission welcomed the announcement by minister Greg Clark, saying it would "lead to a more secure electoral register".

But Labour called for the new system to be put on hold over concerns some voters will be left out.

'Rushing ahead'

In a written ministerial statement, constitution and cities minister Greg Clark said the new system would replace the "outdated" current system with "a secure, modern way to register to vote".

"People will be individually registered, with their identity being confirmed either automatically, through a check against existing government databases, or by submitting their date of birth and national insurance number, or if this is not available, other approved evidence.

"Initial testing has established that over three quarters of voters will automatically be included in the electoral register without any requirement to fill in a form.

"It will be possible, for the first time, to make an online application to be on the electoral register."

People who are on the electoral register but who have not registered to vote under the new system will still be able to cast a ballot in elections, including the 2015 general election under transitional arrangements.

Shadow minister for constitutional reform Stephen Twigg said: "The importance of the issue of voter registration cannot be underestimated.

"The implementation of the Individual Electoral Register is the biggest change to the way we enable people to vote since the introduction of the universal franchise. It's also how we organise jury service, a key civic function that must be representative of our whole population.

"The government are rushing ahead with implementation when there remain serious concerns that some groups will be left out.

"Currently, 8.7 million of the electorate are on course to fall off the register. We have called on the government to delay these changes and to set up a cross-party group to monitor progress during the transition."

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