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Automatic Voter Registration

Volume 690: debated on Thursday 4 March 2021

What recent assessment the Committee has made of the potential merits of introducing automatic voter registration. (912863)

The Commission supports electoral registration reform, as it would make it easier for people to register or to update their details throughout the year. This might include adding people automatically from other datasets or other automated solutions that still require confirmatory action by the voter. In 2019, when the Commission investigated the feasibility of such reforms, it found that these were possible from a technical perspective and could be implemented without radically altering the structure of the electoral registration system in the UK. The Commission’s view is that that could help to improve registration levels among some under-represented registered groups, including the youngest part of the franchise. This would ensure that as many people as possible were able to participate in our democracy.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. The Capitol insurrection in Washington, fraudulent elections in Belarus and the military coup in Myanmar provide three very recent and very real reminders of the importance of defending democracy. Does my hon. Friend agree that democracy is sacred, and what better way to protect it than to automatically ensure that everyone is able to take part in the process?

The Commission absolutely sees its primary role as ensuring the smooth delivery of the democratic processes fairly and responsibly across the whole of the UK. It has looked at ways of improving registration and looked at evidence that has previously been given, but ensuring that as many people as possible are able to register to vote and deliver that vote is one of its primary concerns.