New voter registration system excludes students


Thousands of students might be excluded from voting in next year’s general election if they don’t wake up and get themselves registered, according to a BBC report.

The system has changed from one in which the head of a household – labelled an “old-fashioned idea” by Auntie – was responsible for informing the authorities of all voters living there (after being asked to do so by the local authority), to one in which each voter has to register him- or herself individually.

Here’s the catch. The BBC reported: “Although 87 per cent of existing voters have been automatically transferred, 13 per cent have not and it appears that it is students who have been left out.”

That’s right – under the system that requires you to voluntarily apply to be part of the democratic process, seven-eighths of the population were registered automatically.

Students – who tend to be not only young (and therefore less likely to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat) but also politically radical (and therefore less likely to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat) are the largest social group that didn’t get transferred.

According to the Beeb, this is because their colleges used to register them, acting as the ‘head of the household’, but are now forbidden to do so.

This doesn’t stack up when so many of us were automatically transferred onto the voting register for the new system. Why not students as well, if their addresses were known?

You can be sure that pensioners were all registered automatically, no matter where they were living or what they were doing. Government ministers will be familiar with the old adage: “If you don’t vote Labour when you’re young, you’ve got no heart; if you don’t vote Conservative when you’re old, you’ve got no brains.” They’re banking on it.

Thank goodness for those of us who don’t have any brains – as Yr Obdt Srvt’s former college lecturer once said (and before anybody makes uncouth suggestions, he was one of the most intelligent people there).

In the meantime, if you know anyone who has not yet registered to vote, make sure you sit them down in front of a computer and get them to do it. The whole routine only takes a few minutes.

It could make the difference between a democratic vote and the return of Rotten Boroughs.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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7 thoughts on “New voter registration system excludes students

  1. johnmangan47

    Here we go. Our unimaginative Tories have stolen yet another idea from the loony Republicans who only win elections through rigging the vote and gerrymandering districts.

  2. Lindsay Rodgers

    its not the only group affected it also breaches the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and outs people to the local government to any name change even if you did change your name more then a year ago. (in my case 15 years ago) it still wont let you complete the age until you put in your old names

  3. Joan Edington

    I didn’t realise that non-head-of-household folk had been transferred over automatically. I was sent a form and asked to register while my husband, the head-of-household was not. It didn’t complain about duplication when I registered online. As you say in the article, the only reason for this rediculous break with a system that has worked for decades is a hope that the younger and some working-class people who are less likely to vote, or would vote Labour anyway will just see this as another excuse not to bother, all benefitting the Tories. It’s as good as corruption.

  4. Ruth

    “For this year only the majority of people who are already on the electoral roll will be registered automatically under the new system. All councils will carry out a data-matching process with the Department of Work and Pensions in early summer. Where a person’s details (name and address) match they do not need to do anything to remain registered for 2015. We will write out to those people in the summer confirming that they are registered for the next year.”

    So basically anyone who moved in the last year need to actively register now (so not surprising that students are the largest group who are not automatically registered). This presumably includes any pensioners who moved into – for example – sheltered accommodation.

    I’m not sure what will happen next year, as I understand this automatic transfer is only to “ease” the transition this first year. However, as people move, it is obvious that more and more people will fall off the register. And most of these people are likely to be the poor and vulnerable who tend to be less engaged with the “system”. So yes, this is an excellent tactic by the right to disenfranchise left-leaning voters, just like in the US…

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