Coalition Government reconsiders voter registration plans following consultationPosted: February 13, 2012
Last week the Coalition Government published its response to the consultation on its plans for implementing Individual Voter Registration. Members of the public and democracy groups had raised concerned about certain provisions in the proposals, which included removing the current legal requirement for people to register by introducing an opt-out. The Government have made the following changes to their proposals:
- The Coalition Government will now hold a full household canvas in spring 2014, deferring the planned canvass from autumn 2013.
- The new right to “opt out” of registration will not be introduced in its originally proposed form; People who wish to opt-out may be required to fill out a separate form or the opt-out may be dropped altogether.
- The government plans to consult more widely on whether or not to make non-registration an offence.
Unlock Democracy have been a key part of the campaign to improve the proposals and they had this to say:
This is an entirely welcome step forward and we are pleased the government has listened to the concerns it received about its original proposals. More than 750 responded to our push to get people to respond directly to the consultation, while over 2,100 people used our website to write to their MP about the issue.
Unlock Democracy has always supported the introduction of individual elector registration itself as an important tool for tackling voter fraud. Our concerns with the government proposals have always been over the pace the government planned to introduce the new system and the introduction of the “opt out” which we believe would have a negative impact in terms of both voter participation and the jury system.
Read more: Government backtracks on new voter registration rules (Unlock Democracy).