Millions of missing voters urged to register before deadline

Millions of missing voters urged to register before deadline

With only one week left to register to vote for the local elections in England and Wales, the Electoral Commission is reminding voters that they must be registered to ensure their voice is heard on 2 May. 

The deadline to register is midnight on Tuesday 16 April

Around 44 million people are estimated to be eligible to vote at this year’s May elections in England and Wales. Yet as many as seven million people are either incorrectly registered or missing from the register entirely. 

This is more than the combined adult population of Scotland and Wales, and would be equivalent in number to more than 100 UK Parliament constituencies.

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications said: 

“Only people registered to vote can have their say at the May elections on issues important to their local areas. It only takes five minutes.

“It’s also crucial that voters remember to bring their photo ID to polling stations. Anyone that does not have an accepted form can apply for a free voter ID until 24 April.”  

It takes just five minutes to register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. A person can register if they are aged 18 or over on polling day, a British citizen resident in the UK, or an Irish, EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK.

Anyone previously on the register who has recently moved home or whose details have changed will need to register to vote again. 

Ends

The Commission has spokespeople available to discuss voter registration and the new voter ID requirement.

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

  • Local elections are taking place in 107 local authorities across England. Police and Crime Commissioner elections are happening in 38 police force areas in England and Wales. In London, there are elections for the Mayor of London and for 25 London Assembly Members. There are also nine combined authority mayoral elections, and one local authority mayoral election.
  • Around 44 million people are estimated to be eligible to vote at this year’s May elections in England and Wales. Yet as many as seven million people are either incorrectly registered or missing from the register entirely. 
  • Fieldwork and data analysis was carried out by Ipsos on behalf of The Electoral Commission based on the December 2022 Electoral Registers. Fieldwork was conducted between 11 January and 19 May 2023. A total of 5,298 interviews were achieved across 127 local authority areas in Great Britain, and 1,015 interviews in 100 wards in Northern Ireland.
  • Estimates are based on the local government registers and within a margin of error of 1.1% in Great Britain and 1.9% in Northern Ireland. This means between 6.7 – 7.8 million eligible voters were incorrectly registered or missing from the register in Great Britain and between 228,000 – 283,000 in Northern Ireland. These estimates are based on incompleteness figures from the survey. They include the proportion of eligible residents who are currently not included on the register at their current address (e.g., the surveyed address) and entries found containing errors which would prevent an eligible person from casting their vote (e.g. incorrect name or a recorded date of birth which is later than an attainer’s birthday).
  • Research shows that young people, students and those who have recently moved are least likely groups to be registered. 
  • The Commission is also working to raise awareness of the voter ID requirement. Voters will need to show photographic ID at polling stations. A list of accepted forms of ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website
  • Free voter ID is available to those that do not have an accepted form of photo ID. Applications can be submitted online or by completing a paper form and sending this to the local council’s electoral services team.