News

Government sees 820,000 voters register online

Caroline Baldwin

Over one million UK citizens have registered to vote over the last two months, with about 820,000 using a new online registration service rather than paper-based methods.

In June, the electoral registration process became the third public service to be digitised after lasting power of attorney and student finance. These online services are part of an initiative led by the Government Digital Service (GDS) as part of the 'digital by default' push to put more public services online.

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Some 82% of electoral applications have been processed using the new online service rather than paper registration forms sent by post, and the government has recorded a satisfaction score of over 90% from citizens.

At its peak on 11 August, the new online service processed 34,329 applications, compared with 7,221 paper applications on the same day. The peak number of paper forms processed was 22,753 on 22 August.

The statistics also show that about one-third of people used a mobile smartphone or tablet device to access the service, while nearly a quarter of registrations have been from people under the age of 35.

It was claimed that the digitised service would enable voters to register online and on any device in three minutes by providing their name, address, date of birth and national insurance number.

Minister for the constitution Sam Gyimah said: “We designed this new online service with the user in mind, and it’s great that such a large number of people across the UK are using the service and responding well to our improvements.”

The Individual Electoral Registration (IER) website is replacing an archaic paper-based process dating back to the 19th century in which one person registers each household.

At the time of launch, it was estimated that 80% of UK citizens would be automatically added to the register without needing to fill in a form online or on paper. The Cabinet Office said details of exactly how many applications had been added automatically would be announced later in the year.

Voters were sent a letter to raise awareness of the move to IER, and the government believes this has prompted an increase in registration.


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