Missing Millions: UK Voter Registration

A vision for reform

Millions of UK citizens are missing from the electoral register. Research shows that many turn up on election day and want to cast their vote, but are unable to do so.

In 2016, Toby James and Bite the Ballot authored a report for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation setting out a vision for reform.

Many of these proposals from the report, Getting the Missing Millions onto the Electoral Register, were taken forward by parliamentarians and the government and turned into a reality.

What Parliamentarians said:

‘The Missing Millions report will go down in history as helping to evolve the UK’s electoral registration system.’

Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for the Constitution, 2016-2018

The Missing Millions Report ‘…is helping inform our plans for a programme of work’

John Penrose, Minister for the Constitution, 25th May 2016

‘an outstanding report with 25 recommendations to reform our voter registration system.

Alex Norris, Labour MP

‘…present[s] tried and tested solutions that would keep the register up to date all year round.’

Owen Thompson, Scottish Nationalist Party MP

What happened next?

  • The Higher Education Act 2017 made voter registration for students easier
  • Automatic re-registration was introduced
  • A National Democracy Week was held to promote voter registration

In 2019, an updated vision was published by the APPG, authored by Bite the Ballot, Toby James and Alistair Clark.

The research and policy work was shortlisted for the ESRC Outstanding Contribution to Public Policy: