Report overview: 2019 UK Parliamentary general election


This is a summary of our report on the 2019 UK general election. The report continues in two in-depth sections, covering delivering the election and campaigning at the election.

Download the full report as a PDF


More than 40 million people were registered to vote in the 2019 general election. The turnout of registered voters was 67%

Challenges from changing election campaign techniques

Challenges from changing election campaign techniques

  • Misleading content and presentation techniques are undermining voters’ trust in election campaigns
  • It is too often unclear who is behind digital election campaign material. Significant public concerns about the transparency of digital election campaigns risk overshadowing their benefits
  • Some candidates experienced significant and unacceptable levels of threats, abuse or intimidation


There is an opportunity between now and the next scheduled general election to make real change. This will protect confidence in how elections are run and increase trust in campaigns.

Action needs to begin now to ensure confidence is not further damaged at future elections.

Areas for improvement

There are areas where governments, EROs, ROs, political parties, campaigners, social media companies, and regulators need to work together to agree new laws, processes or standards of conduct. We will support this work to ensure changes are workable, will benefit voters, and improve public confidence.

Action needed

Supporting EROs and ROs to meet voters’ expectations

  • The UK Government needs to identify improvements to the online register to vote service, electoral management software systems and the funding model for elections, to help EROs effectively manage large numbers of registration applications (including duplicate applications) ahead of major electoral events
  • The UK Government should also explore reforms that would make it easier for people to register or update their details throughout the year, such as by integrating registration applications into other public service contacts
  • The UK Government needs to consider innovative new approaches to improve voting for overseas electors, using evidence from other countries, particularly given its plans to increase the number of British citizens living abroad who are eligible to vote
  • The UK’s three governments need to set out how they will simplify and modernise electoral law, building on the comprehensive and well-supported recommendations by the Law Commissions

Supporting trust and confidence in election campaigns

  • Campaigners, candidates and political parties need to take greater responsibility for the presentation and content of campaigns they run and the impact of their activities on public confidence in elections
  • The UK Government needs to make progress on its planned consultation on legislation to ensure campaigners have to include information about themselves on digital campaign material
  • Social media companies need to provide more detailed and accurate data about election campaigns and spending in ad libraries on their platforms so we and voters can see more information about who is campaigning 

Supporting people who want to stand as candidates

  • Political parties and other campaigners, the UK Government and social media companies should continue to take steps to tackle intimidation so that people are not discouraged from standing for election or campaigning because of the risk of abuse, threats or intimidation