On this page you can find information about the move from the current system of household registration to Individual Electoral Registration (IER). This page will be updated with any developments.
17 April 2013: Our final evaluation report on confirmation process for IER
We have concluded our evaluation of the data matching pilots used to test the confirmation process for individual electoral registration. We found that confirmation should be used for the move to IER. Our report includes a number of recommendations to ensure a smooth transition.
29 January 2013: Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, Commons consideration of Lords Amendments
On Tuesday 29 January the House of Commons will consider the House of Lords' amendments to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. We issued a briefing to all MPs.
Read our Bill briefing (PDF) | Follow the Bill on our changes to the law page | View the Bill and explanatory notes on the Parliament website | View the impact assessments and other supporting documents on the Cabinet Office website
23 January 2013: Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, House of Lords Report Stage
The Electoral Registration and Administration Bill will have it's report Stage and Third Reading on Wednesday 23 January.
In June 2011 the Government announced plans for a fundamental change to the way we register to vote, by introducing Individual Electoral Registration (IER).
What is IER?
At present, one person in every household is responsible for registering everyone else who lives at that address. The Government is proposing that, from summer 2014, each person will be required to register to vote individually, rather than by household.
Under the proposed new system, individuals would be asked to provide 'identifying information', such as a date of birth and national insurance number, when they apply to register. This would allow each person's application to be verified before they were added to the register. People who were unable to supply this information would be able to provide an alternative form of evidence of their identity.
People who fail to register under the new system in 2014 would have their registration carried forward to 2015 - ensuring that they would be registered to vote at the 2015 UK general election. However, postal or proxy voters would need to register under the new system from 2014 or they would automatically lose the right to use this method of voting. Anyone who has moved house or changed their name would also be required to register under the new system.
People who have not moved house or do not require a postal or proxy vote would have until the end of the autumn 2015 annual canvass to register under the new system. Those who have not registered individually and had their identity verified by then would be removed from the register.
Our view of IER
We support the introduction of IER because we believe it will address vulnerabilities in the current electoral registration process. It is also right that people are able to take individual responsibility for their own vote. The Commission first recommended in 2003 that a system of IER with verifiable personal identifiers should be introduced in Great Britain.
The introduction of IER in Great Britain will be the biggest change to the voter registration process since the universal franchise was introduced. It requires careful planning and implementation and needs to be done in a way that puts the voter first. We want to be sure that the new system maximises the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers.
IER will also be a significant change for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) who will need time to prepare for its introduction; in particular, updating their systems to ensure security of personal data and to enable them to check the information provided.
Key principles which should underpin the introduction of IER
In 2010, we set out our key principles which should underpin the effective introduction of individual registration in Great Britain:
- The system should not prevent anyone who is eligible to take part in elections in Great Britain from registering to vote.
- The system should ensure that anyone who is not eligible to vote is not included in an electoral register.
- These changes to the system should be easily explained to, and understood by, electors.
- The system should ensure that all personal data is properly managed and protected.
- The system should be capable of being implemented efficiently and without a detrimental impact on the existing duties and responsibilities of EROs.
For more information, see Monitoring the introduction of individual electoral registration: our proposed approach (PDF)