The UK Cabinet Office published a report last week on the attitudes of under-represented groups towards electoral registration and individual registration.
It was written by the consumer marketing company NFK-NOP.
Legislation to change the way that UK citizens register to vote is working its way through Parliament. Registration rates have been falling dramatically in the UK.
Some of the findings from their qualitative interviews do chime with some of the academic literature on electoral registration/voter participation (including my research on the experiences of electoral administrations). Notably:
- Many citizens who are interested in politics don’t register because they lack the information or ‘triggers’ to do so (p.7-8)
- Some decline in electoral registration may occur amongst those who are currently registered by other people (p.12).
- There are concerns about use of national insurance numbers because of the prospects of identity fraud (p.13).
- There is support for the idea of allowing registration when accessing other government services (p.13).
- Young people suggest smartphone apps should be available (p.13-4)
Overall, a strong theme is the need for information campaigns. This is a useful study, but there is still a need for further academic and policy research on electoral registration in Britain. Information campaigns can only go so far and there is a need to make registration simple and to open multiple channels for voter registration.
See my earlier blog post here.
Update: see criticism from the Electoral Reform Society of the report recommendations here: http://www.lgcplus.com/briefings/services/elections/personal-letters-key-to-voting-change/5047735.article