At least 11,322 residents are likely to lose their voting rights as the electoral registration deadline of 20 November fast approaches.
This figure is estimated in a Freedom of Information answer last month. Now the Council is saying that residents in about 11,000 (20%) of Croydon’s households residents could fail to be on the register.
This is due to changes in the electoral registration system that came in last year which ended the heads of households filing in registration forms to it now being the responsibility of each eligible voter.
Under Individual Electoral Registration people need to provide ‘identifying information’, such as their date of birth and national insurance number, when applying to register and the application has to be verified before they can added to the register. Anyone unable to supply this information can provide an alternative form of evidence of their identity.
According to the Freedom of Information answer the number of electors registered on 22 May 2014 was 255,324. ‘The number of electors registered on 7 May 2015 (this includes non IER registered electors) was 254,123, down 1,201. The number of electors registered but not IER registered (in other words, only those whose details have not been matched against the Department of Work and Pensions WP and thus are defined as a “red matches” and will end up being dropped off the register on 1 Dec 2015) will be 11,322.’
The new register comes into effect on 1 December. The Council says that it ‘has gone well, with, at present, around eight out of 10 households having supplied the required information. The remaining 20%, however, are in danger of missing the registration deadline’.
‘Over the past month, electoral registration canvassers have been calling at all non-responding households and individuals to ensure the maximum number of electors will appear on the new, fully revised register’.
‘Some 11,000 electors on the current register will be receiving a further form to complete to ensure their details appear on the new register. This is because they are electors who were retained on the register during the transition to individual electoral registration but remain unconfirmed. It is very important that anyone who receives such a form supplies the requested information or they will be removed from the register to be published in December.’
Stressing the importance of registering Nathan Elvery, Croydon’s electoral registration officer, says: “I cannot stress strongly enough that, if you have any doubts about your registration status, you should contact, without delay, the council’s electoral registration team on 020 8760 5591.”
It is staggering that so many people are at risk. I first discussed this issue back in January on my discussion blog site at http://historyandsocialaction.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/is-croydon-doing-enough-to-ensure.html and copied this to the members of the Council’s General Purposes and Audit Committee on 24 January which was considering a report from Elvery.
National Voter Registration Day took place on 5 February and in an email to me on 13 February reported that ‘at national level some 166,140 online applications were received on the government registration portal’. The Croydon figures had not at that stage been ‘filtered back to us’.
He pointed out that ‘research has shown that a number of groups are less likely to register to vote than others, for example, students and young people, some BAME groups and recent home-movers.’ These were the groups his staff would be ‘concentrating much of our efforts in the run up to the deadline’ of 20 April ‘for receiving applications for registration for the general election’. But despite all the extra measures taken as the Freedom of Information answer stated the actual number of electors The number of electors registered on 7 May 2015 was down 1,201.
In terms of the estimated 11,322 “red matches” who will not be on the register 51% are in Croydon North: 5,789 Croydon North, 3,111 Croydon Central and 2,422 Croydon South.
The Electoral registration team can be contacted at