We run accuracy and completeness studies to measure the quality of the electoral registers, and assess how this changes in response to legislative developments and administrative and population changes.
The results for Great Britain in December 2018 show that:
- Parliamentary registers were 85% complete and 89% accurate
- Local government registers were 83% complete and 89% accurate
The findings lead to two main estimates:
- between 8.3 and 9.4 million people in Great Britain who were eligible to be on the local government registers were not correctly registered
- there were between 4.7 and 5.6 million inaccurate entries on the local government registers
This is our first study since the 2015 assessment of the registers, following the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER). Since 2015 the levels of completeness have stayed at around the same level, with a not statistically significant decline of around 1 percentage point on the local government registers, while the accuracy has fallen by two percentage points.
Age and mobility
Our research confirms that age and mobility continue to be the strongest variables associated with lower levels of completeness. Plans to reform the annual canvass starting in 2020 are an important first step, enabling Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to focus resources on households that have changed composition.
Modernising electoral registration
However, there is more that could and should be done to modernise registration processes in Great Britain to provide the best opportunity for ensuring that as many people as possible are correctly registered.
Earlier this year we published the findings from a series of feasibility studies exploring how reforms, including automatic or more automated registration, could be delivered. The studies found that these changes are feasible from a technical and operational perspective and could be implemented without radically altering the structure of the electoral registration system in the UK.