We run accuracy and completeness studies to measure the quality of the electoral registers, and to assess how this changes in response to legislative developments, administrative and population changes.
The quality of the electoral registers is measured in two main ways: their accuracy and their completeness.
The results for Northern Ireland in December 2018 show that:
- the parliamentary register was 74% complete and 80% accurate
- the local government register was 73% complete and 80% accurate
This research leads to an estimate of between 360,000 and 430,000 people in Northern Ireland who were eligible to be on the local government register but were not correctly registered.
It also shows that there were an estimated 230,000 to 285,000 inaccurate entries on the local government register in December 2018 (out of a total of 1,281,576 entries).
Our study on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in December 2015 found the parliamentary register in Northern Ireland was 81% complete and 87% accurate and the local government register was 79% complete and 87% accurate.
The figures for 2018 show a return to the levels of accuracy and completeness recorded in 2012, when completeness of the local government register was 71% and accuracy was 78%.
There is a canvass of electors in Northern Ireland scheduled for 2020. This is a timely opportunity to improve the quality of the registers. However, we believe that more could and should be done to modernise the registration system in Northern Ireland, as in Great Britain, to ensure that the registers remain as accurate and complete as possible in the period between canvasses.