Gov’s data matching service helps English and Welsh voters transfer automatically to new individual registration system.
A new Whitehall IT system is using data matching to improve the accuracy of the electoral register, automatically moving nearly nine in ten English and Welsh voters onto a new registration scheme.
The Individual Electoral Registration (IER) system was introduced over summer to replace the old method of household registration by requiring people to register to vote individually.
The system supporting the transition to IER takes a citizen’s name and address and compares it to existing Government records – when the details match up, they are passed to Electoral Services teams to complete the citizen’s application to vote as an individual, rather than under their household.
The Cabinet Office claimed today that nearly 90% of English and Welsh voters – more than 36 million people – have now been added to the new electoral register by the system since it was introduced in England and Wales on June 10.
Minister for the Constitution Sam Gyimah said: "The electoral register is central to our democracy and by introducing IER we’re ensuring that we have a system fit for the 21st century.
"As today’s report shows, we’ve exceeded our expectations of the number of people who will be automatically registered, and this demonstrates the success of what’s been a complex IT project and historic electoral transition.
"But we know there are still people who are not registered so we’ll keep pushing ahead to ensure that as many people as possible have a say in how the country is run."
The Cabinet Office believes the system will allow administrators to spend more time focusing on the 10% of citizens who cannot be confirmed by the process of data matching, as well as targeting those not yet registered, typically students and people who have recently moved house.
That 10% must provide extra details to register – typically any name changes and their national insurance numbers. But while the Government claims this process takes just three minutes to do online, it has been a source of controversy after voters reportedly received letters threatening £80 fines id those details are not received within a month.