Individual Electoral Registration - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 03 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06764

Authors: Isobel White

Topic: Elections, Electoral register

TThis note provides background to the introduction of the new system of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) which took place in 2014.

The last Government made provision for a phased introduction of IER in the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009. The Coalition Government announced in 2010 that it was going to speed up the introduction of the new system and the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for the introduction of IER by 2015. This followed repeated calls by the Electoral Commission for a change in the law and concerns about electoral fraud and the integrity of the register. Registration in Northern Ireland has been on an individual basis since 2002.

The new system of registration means that electors are registered individually and they have to provide identification in order to verify their application; this is their date of birth and National Insurance number. Transitional arrangements were made to allow data matching against the records held by the Department for Work and Pensions to automatically confirm electors on the register during the transition to IER in 2014.

The Note also gives information about the funding for the transition to the new system and funding to support a range of initiatives to increase the level of voter registration among under-registered groups, including young people. On 9 January 2015 the Deputy Prime Minister announced that there would be additional funding of up to £9.8 million in 2015 “to support the costs of activities aimed at increasing the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register”; there are still concerns about the under-registration of students in particular.

The Electoral Commission is encouraging its partner organisations to support National Voter Registration Day, initiated by the Bite the Ballot campaign, on 5 February 2015.

The registration deadline for the general election on 7 May 2015 is 20 April 2015.

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