Thursday, 24 July 2014

Electoral Commision annouce there are 7.5m people missing off the electoral register

I received this letter from my colleague Chris Ruane which he has asked MP's to circulate more widely. It was my question on the floor of the House of Commons on 18 June 2012 which revealed for the first time that the government accepted a figure them of 6 million unregistered voters.

The Electoral Commissions announcement today is that there are 7.5m people missing off the electoral register. For the 650 constituencies that's an average of 11,538 per constituency. In Hyndburn Borough (excluding Haslingden) this will be an average of circa 9,000.

Back in October 2011 those on the Council Tax list but who were unregistered where added to the electoral register iincrassing the register by approximately 2,500.

Correction - This week I have also discovered that in Hyndburn Borough it is estimated through data matching is some 9,000 unregistered voters that some 9,000 voters on the current register, who are currently registered but who cannot be (ID) matched with other national data sets (DWP etc..) will need to re-register under the new individual voter registration system that begins in ernest after the General Election. That figure following further data matching has now been revised to 5121. 

That there are approximately there are so many people unregistered per constituency at the last General Election is shocking. It also significantly undermines the argument the government had the current boundaries are unfair as it is clear that the current population figures are unreliable.

Dear Colleague, I enclose my response to the Electoral Commissions announcement today that there are 7.5m people missing off the register. The Electoral Commission have welcomed this news which is outrageous. This figure is equivalent to 100 extra parliamentary seats on the Government’s target figure of 75,000 per seat. If they were all registered it would change the face of British politics.

The timing of this release by the Electoral Commission, on the last day of Parliament is reprehensible. The Electoral Commission have thus avoided Parliamentary scrutiny until September at the earliest. By which time they will hope the issue will have blown over.

They have tolerated this failure and law breaking by EROs for the past six years. Worse than that they are actively pursuing projects such as voter ID at polling station to vote and postal ballot application restrictions which will inhibit democratic participation instead of concentrating on getting 7.5m people back on the register.

I urge you to look at the report and make your feelings known to the Electoral Commission on info@electoralcommission.org.uk. Also, please consider putting this on Twitter or Facebook – or even just retweet my tweet on this today.

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/169889/Completeness-and-accuracy-of-the-2014-electoral-registers-in-Great-Britain.pdf

Best,

Chris Ruane
Member of Parliament for the Vale of Clwyd
PPS to Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change



From: Rachel Wilkinson
Date: 24 July 2014 14:49:12 BST
To: "WELLS, Ciaran
Subject: HYNDBURN ELECTORS

Hi Ciaran,

Further to our discussion on Monday I have now completed the data matching I mentioned and data for the letters and forms to be printed has gone to the Printers.

The transition to IER started on 10th June and everybody who applies to register to vote from that date has to provide their NINO and date of birth. A copy of the July 2014 Register of Electors containing 61,490 names was uploaded to the governments Digital Service for them to check their records against ours and provide a match file. When our return was received the match rate was 82.04% with 9569 of the electors not matching DWP records (for example one or other record could be mis-spelt of the electors could have moved address since the current register was compiled and published in February). The electors are not missing.

Councils could carry out a data matching exercise to see if the match rate could be improved and Hyndburn decided to do so, the match rate has increased from 82.04 to 91.67% and the unmatched now total 5121 – to re-iterate these are electors on the register whose name and /or address cannot be matched to DWP records but are on the Register. Of the 5121, 552 are postal voters and 80 are people approaching 18 years of age.

As mentioned on Monday, if the postal voters do not respond to the write out but are still included on the Register published on 1st December we will write to tell them they have lost the right to their postal vote until they register by providing their NINO and date of birth.

The 91.67% of the electors (56,369) who match will shortly receive a letter telling them that they have been automatically re-registered under the new system. The 5121 will receive a letter telling them that the system has changed and that they need to complete a form to be able to keep their registration.

As ever, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Regards Rachel