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Electoral Registration

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of eligible voters missing from the electoral register of each Parliamentary constituency in Nottinghamshire. (94488)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 19 October 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question concerning the number of eligible voters missing from the Electoral Register of each Parliamentary Constituency in Nottinghamshire. (94488)

The Office for National Statistics does not provide estimates of the number of eligible voters missing from the Electoral Register. However, we can compare the estimated usual resident population aged 18 and over from the last Census with estimates of those who were registered to vote at the time. By dividing the latter by the former, a “ratio” can be derived and this is shown in the attached table for the various parliamentary constituencies in Nottinghamshire.

These are the closest available figures to those you have requested. The resulting data are not reliable estimates of registration rates and should be treated with appropriate caution. At best, they might help to identify where there might be issues with registration rates but you should also take account of local factors, for example the presence of a prison in an area.

There are various limitations with this type of comparison. The UK parliamentary electorate excludes citizens of countries other than the UK, Ireland, and the Commonwealth and includes UK citizens resident abroad. In addition not everyone who is usually resident is entitled to vote (prisoners, members of the House of Lords, etc. are not eligible) and people who have more than one address may register in more than one place. Also there is inevitably some double counting of the registered electorate as electoral registration officers vary in how quickly they remove people from the registers after they have moved away from an area or after they have died. The latter is the main reason why in some constituencies the population aged 18 and over will be less than those registered to vote. These factors may have a different impact from place to place.

Population data by Parliamentary Constituency are not available on an annual basis, consequently these tables have been prepared from 2001 Census data. In order to give an estimate of the number of electors on Census day (29 April 2001), a weighted average is taken of the 1 February 2001 and 1 December 2001 electoral data. The census database was subsequently revised and more details on these revisions can be found at: www.statistics.gov.uk/lastudies.

Nottinghamshire parliamentary constituencies: those aged 18 and over in the 2001 Census, number of registered parliamentary electors, and ratio of those aged 18 and over in the Census1a to the number of registered electors (in descending order of the size of the ratio)

Parliamentary Electors

Parliamentary constituency

2001 Census People aged 1 8 years and over: (29 April 2001)

Registered electorate: 1 February 2001

Registered electorate: 1 December 2001

Weighted comparator2

Ratio1b

Nottingham South

77,517

73,486

65,601

71,222

0.919

Nottingham East

66,567

65,716

54,884

62,606

0.940

Nottingham North

63,743

64,863

57,114

62,638

0.983

Gedling

69,929

68,985

68,873

68,953

0.986

Rushcliffe

82,675

82,234

82,010

82,170

0.994

Bassetlaw

69,454

69,011

69,565

69,170

0.996

Broxtowe

74,418

74,281

74,019

74,206

0.997

Newark

71J63

71,191

71,704

71,338

1.002

Ashfield

73,651

74,023

74,293

74,101

i .006

Sherwood

75,182

75,874

75,81.9

75,858

1 .009

Mansfield

66,151

67,576

68,829

67,936

1.027

1a The UK resident population aged 18 and over is not the same as the number of people eligible to vote:

Citizens of countries outside the UK and the Commonwealth are not eligible to vote in parliamentary elections.

UK citizens abroad are eligible to vote in Parliamentary elections.

Persons with more than one address may register more than once (for example students at term and home addresses).

Other restrictions on voting eligibility also apply.

1b A ratio of greater than 1 implies that the number of registered electors is greater than the number of people aged 18 and over in the Census. This is caused mainly by definitional differences between the two populations and double-counting in the electoral register. Therefore comparison between the Census population and registered electors and the implied ratios can only be regarded as a guide.

2 This is an estimate of the number of electors at Census day (29 April 2001), It is calculated by taking a ‘weighted’ average of the number of electors registered prior to and following this point. The formula for this weighting is:

Feb '01 + (. 87/303 x (Dec '01 - Feb '01))

Source: Office for National Statistics