May 01, 2019 10:12 AM

Research shows 7.9 million eligible voters won't have their voice heard in EU elections

Best for Britain has launched a national campaign to encourage 7.9 million people who are eligible to vote in the upcoming EU elections, but are not currently on the electoral roll, to register before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday 7th May.

Make sure you're signed up to vote now. Use getvoting.org to quickly and easily sign up to vote, join the Postal Army and get reminders about significant dates through the elections.

New report by Best for Britain

Exclusive research commissioned by Best for Britain and undertaken by Number Cruncher Politics shows that 7.9 million people eligible to vote in the European elections, scheduled for Thursday 23rd May, will not have their voice heard. 

Every region has hundreds of thousands of people missing. Figures are particularly large among EU citizens, private renters and young people.

Matt Singh, of Number Cruncher Politics, who undertook the analysis, pointed out:

“Because electoral registers contain many inaccuracies, far fewer people are registered to vote than it might appear from their size. 

“This, in turn, means that millions of those eligible to vote are not registered to do so. This group differs from the eligible population as a whole - notably being younger, and likelier to be private renters - than the average.”

Fixing the problem

That’s why Best for Britain are today launching a new tool at getvoting.org which will help users register to vote and obtain a postal vote. It will also remind users of various electoral deadlines and to get out to vote on polling day. 

Interim CEO of Best for Britain Naomi Smith said:

“The numbers we’re seeing for people who aren’t yet registered to vote are staggering.

“These people have a big part to play in the future direction of our country, and we will do everything in our power to ensure their voice is heard on polling day with everyone else’s.

“That’s why we’re launching this vital tool that will make registering to vote or getting a postal vote much easier, and reminding people when they need to get registered.

“This is a big moment for the country, and every voter should be counted.”

What are politicians saying about the shocking revelations?

Commenting on the analysis, Best for Britain supporter Caroline Lucas MP, former leader of the Green Party said:

"It's really concerning that huge swathes of people across the country who have the right to vote in the European elections this May, aren’t currently registered. 

“This analysis shows nearly 8 million people could be at risk of losing the right to have their voice heard at such a crucial juncture for the country’s future, with young people, private renters and EU citizens some of the groups most at risk of missing out. That needs to change.

“Whether you voted leave or remain, your voice needs to be heard. Get out and get registered.”

Best for Britain supporter and Conservative MP, Dr Phillip Lee said: 

"This is a timely reminder for everyone of the importance of making sure you are registered to vote. 

"We cannot sit idly by while millions risk not having their voices heard in the upcoming European elections. 

"Democracy thrives when people take part in it and it's crucial that we get as many eligible voters to register as possible."

Best for Britain supporter and Liberal Democrat, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

“Nothing is more vital to the healthy working of our democracy than the participation of as many people as possible.

“The fact that so many people who are eligible to vote are currently not registered is therefore something we must act on and change.

“No one should be left without a voice on polling day.”

Best for Britain supporter and Labour MP, Rachael Maskell said:

“The right to vote is one of the most important rights we hold. It creates a healthy channel of communication between communities and those tasked with representing them.

“But in order to get that far we must ensure as many people as possible are registered to vote.

How many are missing in your region?

You can find Best for Britain’s report on the 7.9 million missing voters here

How are the numbers calculated?

This analysis calculates the number of people eligible to vote in the upcoming European elections for every region in the UK, based on the population aged 18 or over and nationality data. This can be compared to estimates of what proportion of the population are registered to vote in every region, based on the number of people on the electoral register and research from the Electoral Commission on the accuracy of the electoral register (e.g. what proportion of people are incorrectly registered in both their current address and their previous address).

Here's the table of results (also available in the report): 

  Voting Eligible Population (millions) Estimated Registration Rate (per cent) Estimated Number Registered (millions) Difference (millions)
  Local Local Local Local
England 42.7 85 36.1 6.6
North East 2.1 79 1.6 0.4
North West 5.6 85 4.7 0.9
Yorkshire and The Humber 4.2 83 3.5 0.7
East Midlands 3.7 84 3.1 0.6
West Midlands 4.5 88 4.0 0.5
East 4.8 85 4.1 0.7
London 6.4 82 5.2 1.2
South East 7.0 87 6.1 0.9
South West 4.4 85 3.7 0.7
Wales 2.5 85 2.1 0.4
Scotland 4.3 86 3.7 0.6
Northern Ireland 1.4 79 1.1 0.3
UNITED KINGDOM 50.9 85 43.1 7.9


*Figures may not sum due to rounding
**The electorate for European elections is the same as for local elections

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