Young people at risk of missing their chance to vote

Young people at risk of missing their chance to vote, warns Electoral Commission

One in three young people are not registered to vote, according to the Electoral Commission, as it urges young people to sign up before the registration deadline on 26 November.

Commission research shows that registration levels are low among young people. Only 74 per cent of those aged 25-34 are correctly registered, falling to 68 per cent among those aged 20-24 and 66 per cent among those aged 18-19. Registration rates are significantly higher for those aged 65 and over, at 94 per cent. 

Anyone wanting to vote in the UK Parliamentary general election on Thursday 12 December 2019 must register by Tuesday 26 November. Registration is quick and easy and can be done online at Anyone who won’t be able to get to their polling station on 12 December can arrange either a postal or proxy vote.

Craig Westwood, Director of Communication, Policy and Research at the Electoral Commission, said: 

For some young people this will be their first opportunity to participate in an election, but it’s important they don’t miss the chance. Our research shows that young people are less likely to be registered to vote. 

“It only takes five minutes to register to vote online – time that you might otherwise spend waiting for the kettle to boil or for a gym class to start. So if you want to make sure your voice is heard, go online and register now.”

Students finishing their winter term at university can register at both their term time and home address, and can then choose which constituency they wish to vote in. This is the case for anyone who resides at two addresses; it is, however, an offence for someone to cast more than one vote on their own behalf in a UK Parliamentary general election.

The Electoral Commission is working with the NUS to raise awareness and increase understanding of voting procedures among students.


For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office

Notes to editors

  • Figures are based on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in Great Britain report published in September 2019.
  • The Commission estimates that between 8.3 million and 9.4 million eligible voters in Great Britain are not correctly registered at their current address. It is not possible to calculate the absolute number of people not correctly registered at their current address because the size of the population eligible to vote in Great Britain cannot be determined with certainty. The calculation is, therefore, based on an estimate of completeness and an estimate of the total eligible population. More information can be found in the Commission’s report.
  • Anyone wanting to vote in this election must be registered to vote, 18 years or over on polling day and also be either a UK or Irish citizen or a qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK.
  • The deadline to register for a postal vote is 5pm on 26 November in England, Scotland and Wales, and 5pm on 21 November in Northern Ireland.
  • The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency.
  • The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish parliaments.