Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The switch to individual registration is a success


Not that you'd think this listening to Gloria De Piero, Labour's "shadow minister for making sure the register is loaded with ghost voters" (or whatever her title is):

The shadow minister for electoral registration, Gloria De Piero, said the figures show 1.8% of voters have left the register since the move to IER. Ms De Piero said the drop-off had been particularly high in areas with a large proportion of students.

A while ago the whole exercise was opposed by Labour with cries of gerrymandering and accusations of some kind of evil Tory fix. It was, of course, nothing of the sort as these latest scandalous figures tell us. If the register has declined by less than 2% this is an indication that the result of the new system is a cleaner, more accurate and up-to-date system - a triumph really.

Moreover, most of the loss is accounted for by students not being registered in the place where they are students. This is (as a moment's thought might suggest) not necessarily an indication that they aren't registered but rather that they are registered at their home address - where mum and dad live:

"Among those students who were on the electoral roll turnout was relatively high. Yet it appears that many of them opted to vote at home rather than at their place of study..."

So the real figure - one we can't know without an expensive merge-purge of the whole UK register - for decline is likely to be significantly lower than 800,000. What seems to happen is that students who are registered in South Hams (to pick a place at random) then don't bother registering in Leeds North West.

From a scandal where 'millions' were going to lose the chance of voting because of the evil Tories we have reached a point where the transfer to a system of individual registration has resulted in almost no net reduction in the numbers registered. And remember that every person with an address who is receiving benefits of any sort (housing, child, JSA, in work) is automatically registered because that evil Tory government allowed, for the first time, DWP data to be shared with Councils for the purpose of registering people to vote.

What has happened is that local councils have been forced to spend time, effort and money getting the register accurate. Hundreds of thousands of ghost names - some fraudulent but mostly just the result of sloppy electoral registration - have gone but are replaced by the accurate collection of names of individuals who actually live at a given address. Students are almost the only group (single people in low paid work and rented housing but not receiving benefits being the other) that slip through the system.

The switch to individual registration has been a success.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Much of the credit should go to the requirement to provide a National Insurance Number - it was easy to invent a credible name and date of birth, but the N.I. No. is checkable and that will have eliminated many of the 'ghost' voters - I suspect most of the alleged 800,000 'missing' can be explained thus.

It would be interesting to know how many of the 'missing' were also Postal Voters - probably most of them - then draw your own conclusions.

Counting the votes in parts of Bradford next time could be a lot quicker.