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Published on January 25th, 2011 | by The Editor
Image © This week Catch21 Productions attended a meeting on ‘Improving Voter Registration’ led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as currently 8% of the population is still not registered to vote. Although the government proudly announced a surge in voter registration, heralding in a ‘new generation of voters’ with 40% of the visitors to the electoral commission website aged between 18-24, I can’t help worrying about the future of voter registration. This is in no way helped by the government plan to introduce compulsory individual voter registration in 2014, which means that you'd have to provide proof of ID to register to vote, resulting in everyone having to re-register with the relevant ID. Jack Straw, Acting Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, hit the nail on the head by pointing to the danger of reducing the number of registered voters, which begs the question why Nick Clegg is showing concern in the 8% not registered to vote when an upcoming compulsorily individual voter registration would make registering a lot more difficult and unappealing, threatening a massive decrease in voter registration. To add insult to injury data released by the Electoral Commission about the 2010 Elections revealed that 7,205 people tried to vote before finding out they were not registered, and a massive 74,178 people tried to register after registration had closed. Is it just me or has the government got the focus all wrong? Instead of focusing on the individual voter registration surely they should address the importance of registering to vote before the deadline, or, as only around 60% registered actually vote, the government should focus on people voting, not just registering.

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Nick Clegg on improving voter registration

This week Catch21 Productions attended a meeting on ‘Improving Voter Registration’ led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as currently 8% of the population is still not registered to vote. Although the government proudly announced a surge in voter registration, heralding in a ‘new generation of voters’ with 40% of the visitors to the electoral commission website aged between 18-24, I can’t help worrying about the future of voter registration.

This is in no way helped by the government plan to introduce compulsory individual voter registration in 2014, which means that you’d have to provide proof of ID to register to vote, resulting in everyone having to re-register with the relevant ID. Jack Straw, Acting Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, hit the nail on the head by pointing to the danger of reducing the number of registered voters, which begs the question why Nick Clegg is showing concern in the 8% not registered to vote when an upcoming compulsorily individual voter registration would make registering a lot more difficult and unappealing, threatening a massive decrease in voter registration. To add insult to injury data released by the Electoral Commission about the 2010 Elections revealed that 7,205 people tried to vote before finding out they were not registered, and a massive 74,178 people tried to register after registration had closed.

Is it just me or has the government got the focus all wrong? Instead of focusing on the individual voter registration surely they should address the importance of registering to vote before the deadline, or, as only around 60% registered actually vote, the government should focus on people voting, not just registering.

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  • Jake

    Electronic voting must be the way forward. Saying that, knowing the Government they would probably screw it up and leave a vital hard drive with everyone's details and vote lying around on a train somewhere!

  • Reggie

    I'm pretty sure in the last election there was a huge publicity campaigne warning people about the importance of registering to vote before the deadline. Did that have any effect on the amount of unregistered voters?

    If it didn't work what is the solution? Spending more money jamming the message down peoples throats?

    I get the feeling (although it may not be the case) that these unregistered voters, decide to vote in the 11th hour. If this is the case they have probably been influenced by the final surge of desperate propaganda, and won't make a careful informed decision. So maybe its best to ignore these forgetful few.

    Concerning the ID registration, surely its a good thing to tackle election fraud. If people really care about who is running the country I doubt they will mind.

  • Libby

    If people haven't registered to vote surely that implies they don't want to/can't be bothered to vote – there's no point trying to force unengaged, apolitical or uninformed individuals to choose a party on election day.

  • Anneka

    If young people get into the habit of registering and voting whilst many still live at home, rather than when they hit the age of 18 and are much more transient, often moving to University or away from the family home, then they are much more likely to continue with this habit of registering to vote, and subsequently voting. This is my key reason for supporting the Votes at 16 campaign.

    In addition, it would help if information about candidates and parties was much more widely available, utilising online technologies, which in the last election, they simply failed to do. One of the key reasons for people not voting is not because they are apathetic or ignorant, rather their considered view that they 'do not know enough about politics or the candidates'. Some politicians are getting much better at publishing accessible information about their work online (through websites, blogs, twitter, facebook etc), but much more must be done in this area to enable the general public to feel they are able to make an informed decision.

  • hi everyone!, I’m new on here and glad to be a part of the group!

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