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Voter Registration Rates

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 17 December 2015

The Electoral Commission provided guidance and resources, and set performance standards for electoral registration officers to improve registration in their local area during the recent autumn canvass. The commission also ran a major public awareness campaign ahead of the May 2015 polls. The campaign resulted in more than 1.5 million additions to the register, which was more than three times the amount achieved during a similar period before the 2010 general election.

Against the explicit advice of the Electoral Commission, the Government rushed through by a year the individual electoral registration on which the new boundaries will be based. HOPE not hate predicted that 1.9 million people will fall off the register. The hon. Gentleman has said that there has been an increase in registration, but I would like to know the net figures. It is predicted that those who will fall off the register will typically be the young, those in houses of multiple occupation, and students. What was the net result at the end of all this? It sounds like a cynical attempt to make my electors disappear.

The decision that the hon. Lady mentions was a matter for the Government and was taken, as she rightly says, against the advice of the Electoral Commission. I will have to write to her about net impact of that decision. The reality is that we must all do whatever we can to encourage our local electoral registration officers to contact as many people as possible, particularly in groups that are hard to reach. I am sure that the public awareness campaign in early 2016 will have great success, as it did in 2015.