A research report by Toby James and Paul Bernal of the University of East Anglia considering the case for Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) was published on Wednesday 29 April 2020. The research was commissioned by the UK Democracy Fund, a pooled fund set up by JRRT.
- Millions are missing from the electoral registers – the Electoral Commission estimated in September 2019 that some 17% of eligible voters in Great Britain were not correctly registered.
- The delay of the May 2020 elections due to COVID-19 is generating debate about effective digital means of registering citizens ahead of the bumper package of elections in May 2021, with local, Mayoral and elections in the devolved nations.
- Government announcements in late March on Boundary Reviews, which are based on registration data, add further urgency to calls for reform.
- Cross party support is building with backing from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee in its 2014 report on voter engagement and the APPG on Democratic Participation report in 2019.
Is AVR the solution?
The research report sets out the array of measures, such as automatic voter registration and assisted voter registration, that could be adopted. It considers the impacts on privacy, data protection, consent and security.