New analysis: Huge increase in voter registration compared to 2017 election

Posted on the 26th November 2019

But over a million likely to be already on the register due to ‘archaic’ registration system, say ERS

There has been a huge increase in voter registration compared to the 2017 election, according to analysis by the Electoral Reform Society.

There have been 3,191,193 applications to register in the period from the day the election was called (29th Oct) to midnight on Monday (28 days). That’s an average of 114,000 per day.

The figure is 38% higher than the 2,315,893 applications to register in a similar period in the 2017 election. That equated to an average of 68,000 registrations per day [1].

In 2019, 875,300 more applications have been made during the period between the election being called and the day before the voter registration deadline, than the same period in 2017.

Further analysis:

  • Of the applications made since the election was called in 2019, 2,125,064 applications (67% of the total) were made by people aged 34 or under.
  • Of the applications made during this period in 2017, 1,570,842 applications (68% of the total) were made by people aged 34 or under.
  • Yesterday (25 November) saw 366,443 people apply to register. 72% of applications (264,306) came from people aged 34 or under. The ERS’ National Voter Registration Day on Friday saw over 300,000 people register – the highest number up to that date
  • In 2017, 622,398 applications were made on the day of the voter registration deadline (22 May 2017). Of these, 73% (453,146 applications) came from people aged 34 or under.
  • Based on 2017 figures on ‘duplicate entries’ from the Electoral Commission – 36.9% of ‘new’ registrations were duplicates – around 1.2m of this election’s 3.2m registrations are likely to be duplicates (i.e. 2m are likely to be ‘new’ entries to the register)
  • That suggests that millions could still be missing from the electoral roll today. The Electoral Commission estimated that up to 9.4m were missing from the electoral roll in December 2018

Dr Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research at the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“This surge in registrations is highly encouraging, given the huge numbers missing from the electoral roll. We’re seeing a major uplift in new registrations compared to the last election, with large numbers of young people signing up too – a traditionally under-registered demographic. It’s vital we close the demographic divides in terms of who is registered. This is a strong start.

“However, since you cannot check whether you’re registered already, we estimate over a million of the registrations we’ve seen are likely to be duplicates. We urgently need to update our archaic registration system to bring in the ‘missing millions’. Britain needs a registration revolution, to ensure the right to vote isn’t a lottery but is something secured for all.

“In the last few hours left before the deadline, we call on everyone to do all they can to spread the word and make this an election that is truly representative. But crucially, we need all parties commit to backing universal, automatic registration and a system fit for the 21st century.”


Notes to Editors

The ERS are leading a coalition of civil society groups and campaigners to back steps towards automatic voter registration, as used in many other advanced democracies.

Yesterday they wrote in the Times

December 5th will be ‘Democracy Day’ to put issues like this on the political agenda:

[1] For 2017, the ERS use figures from the day the PM called the election (18 April) up to and including the day before the voter registration deadline (21 May). This period covers 34 days, as it is best to compare the periods from the day the election was called, until the day before the voting deadline and gives a more realistic picture. The day an election is called is a key trigger for people to think about whether they are registered, and there were big spikes in registration applications on the day that both the GE17 & GE19 elections were called.

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