Today is the final date for applications to join the electoral register
After midnight tonight your chance to register to vote in the general election on June 8th will end.
However certain you are that you will vote, it is imperative that you have an up to date registration. If you’re not registered by the end of today, you will not have the option to vote at all. And there are hidden benefits to being on the register — it is used to help inform credit scores, and the register is used to build electoral boundaries, so an incomplete register in your area could leave it underrepresented when you come to vote next time.
But the reality is that if you’re in certain demographic groups you’re much less likely to be registered.
According to the Electoral Commission’s 2015 report on the completeness of the electoral register around 85 per cent of us are registered to vote overall.
But amongst 18-19 year olds only around 65 per cent are registered, and 67 per cent of 20-24 year olds. At the other end of the spectrum this goes up to 96 per cent amongst those aged 65 and above.
Among the youngest education is a key factor. Only 57 per cent of 18-34 year-olds with no qualifications are registered, though even among those with a higher degree it only goes up to 77 per cent.
Certain BAME groups are also likelier to be unregistered. Around 76 per cent of Black voters and 80 per cent of Asian voters are registered compared to 85 per cent of white voters.
Perhaps most notable is the type of housing a voter lives in. Those who rent their housing privately are only around 57 per cent registered. Those who rent social housing are 78 per cent registered. Those with mortgages 89 per cent, those who own outright 95 per cent.
What this all comes down to is that these groups move house a lot. The system of electoral registration in Britain means that every time an elector moves home they need to re-register. Those who have owned their own home for years then need not worry, their decades old registration is still very likely to be current. But for those who move frequently — typically younger, less likely to be white voters, renting in Britain’s unstable private rented sector, there is an increased likelihood of falling off the register.
This too can be seen in the Electoral Commission’s stats. Those who have lived in their home for over 16 years are around 96 per cent registered. Only around 27 per cent of those who moved in less than a year before the EC’s study were registered. This figure goes up to 69 per cent of those who moved in between a year and two years beforehand.
At the Electoral Reform Society we advocate a registration revolution — same day registration, allowing people to check whether they’re registered online and allowing people to register when they interact with the government in other ways to improve this. But while these measures would aid registration in the future, it is imperative that as many voters are on the register as possible today.
Thanks to the new online registration system it only takes a few minutes to register. All you need is a National Insurance number. And registrations have been surging. From 34,000 applications to register online on 22 April, 93,000 people applied to register two days ago. Yesterday registrations spiked to 207,000, of those 90,000 registered were under 25.
Make sure that you’re with them, that you are not left off the register and left outside the polling station on June 8th unable to vote. Make sure that you register today.
Chris Terry is research officer at the Electoral Reform Society. You can register to vote here.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.