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Sun, 29 March 2020

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More than 3 million people apply to vote in general election as deadline looms

More than 3 million people apply to vote in general election as deadline looms
2 min read

More than three million people have applied to register to vote since the general election was called, it has been revealed.

The figure is 875,000 higher than the same period in the run-up to the 2017 election, according to analysis by the Electoral Reform Society.

Around two-thirds - 67% - of those applying were aged 34 or under, they found.

But the ERS said that more than a million of those applying will already have been on the voters' roll.

Eligible adults have until 11:59 pm on Tuesday to register to vote in the general election on 12 December.

Monday saw the highest number of registrations since the election was called with 366,000 people registering in one day. 

But, based on 2017 figures from the Electoral Commission, around a third of these registrations could be duplicates.

Duplicate voter registration applications occur when people apply despite already being registered, apply at a new address or apply at a second address such as university accommodation.

It is estimated that around 2 million voter registrations this year are likely to be ‘new’ voters.

There has also been a large number of young people applying to vote, with 67% of applications since the election was called being made by people aged 34 and under.

In 2017, 68% of all applications were made by young people. 

But, 73% of applications made on the day of the voter registration deadline in 2017 were young people, making a further surge in young voters on Tuesday still likely.

Dr Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society, said the increase in registrations was “highly encouraging”.

“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.”

But, she said that a “universal, automatic” voter registration system that was “fit for the 21st century” was needed to ensure the election was representative. 

She added: “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.”

The Electoral Commission estimates that up to 9.4 million people were missing from the electoral roll in 2018.

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