Overview

Electoral law is out of date. Some of the laws that govern our democracy go back as far as 1872, and they don’t work for a digital age.

Summary

But these laws are at the heart of trust and confidence in politics. It’s vital they’re right for today and the future.

We’re calling on the UK’s governments to reform electoral law and make it simpler, up-to-date and future proof.

Outdated laws

There are currently over 100 pieces of electoral legislation. Every type of election has its own legislation.

We have to write hundreds of pages of guidance to explain the rules to candidates, political parties, electoral administrators and voters.

People who run elections may have to refer to multiple documents to make sure they’re following the law. This is costly and time consuming.

Electoral law doesn’t allow many simple processes to be done online, despite this being what people expect.

Changes we want to see

It’s time for change. We want the UK government to modernise these laws.

Electoral law that’s fit for today and the future will make sure that:

  • elections can be run better and more efficiently
  • candidates, political parties, and voters can easily understand and follow the rules
  • simple actions can be done online, improving services for voters and campaigners and reducing waste
  • it’s easy to update as things change
  • we have stronger powers and the right tools to adapt to changes, like regulating spending on new channels

What's happening now

The UK’s Law Commissions have already provided a blueprint for reform of electoral law that’s widely supported by people who run, regulate and campaign at elections.

We’re pleased that the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is now looking at reforming electoral law.

It’s time for governments to take this seriously and commit to significant change. They need to prioritise the time and resources needed to create meaningful improvement.