Automatic electoral registration (AER) has been proposed as policy to increase the number of people on the electoral register in the UK.

The perception that automatic registration could significantly boost participation in democracy has led to cross party support including support by the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee in its 2014 report on voter engagement, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation.

However, important questions have been raised about the potential impact of automatic registration on privacy, data protection and security.

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has commissioned Toby James and Paul Bernal of the University of East Anglia report to consider the possible implications of this reform.

If you would like to get in touch to share your views, please complete the form here: before 15th January 2020.

The Questions

We would particularly be interested in your views on:

  • What are the problems with the existing system of electoral registration?
  • What alternative systems have been used overseas?  How effective have they proven?
  • What sources of data could be used for automatic voter registration? For example, information from other public bodies? Information from the private sector?
  • Would you have any concerns about cyber-security? If so, how could it be redressed?
  • What concerns would you have, if any, about data privacy? If so, how could it be redressed?
  • How should specific privacy concerns, for example, personal data of victims of violence and domestic abuse, be addressed?
  • What concerns, if any, do you have about the use of the electoral register? For example, by government departments or the sale of electoral register? How can they be mitigated?
  • Should voter registration be opt in or opt out?  To what extent can consent and active citizen choice be achieved?
  • Any other comments.

How to answer

Please email Toby James (t.s.james at with your comments or press ‘next’ to complete the form on:

Feel free to answer as few or as many questions as you would like.  There is no minimum or maximum length for answers.

Who should respond?

We welcome everyone to respond, whether you are an academic, electoral official, public body, political party or member of the public.

We will also directly reach out to some stakeholders.

Image credit: Wikepedia

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