Electoral Commission
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Don’t miss out! Voters warned not to miss registration deadline for EU referendum

With the EU referendum fast approaching, the Electoral Commission has sent an impartial booklet to 28 million households across the UK yesterday (Monday 16 May).

This comes as a recent Commission survey found that around one in ten people (12%) said they think they are able to register to vote right up to the day of the referendum on Thursday 23rd June. Only 3% of people are spontaneously aware of the correct deadline and three in four (74%) either don’t know the date or believe it is later than 7 June.

The 8-page booklet has been tested with the public and contains important information people have said will help them to participate, including:

  • Who can vote
  • How to register to vote and options for casting your vote
  • The question and an image of the ballot paper
  • A page each for the lead campaign organisations

The campaign is designed to ‘cut through’ the noise that everyone will be hearing about the EU referendum by creating eye-catching advertising ‘you can’t miss’. It is based on a successful campaign the Commission ran ahead of the Scottish referendum where by polling day 84% of people surveyed said they recognised the advertising.

The booklet reminds voters that if they are not already registered to vote then they must do this by the deadline of Tuesday 7 June. Around 7.5m million people in Great Britain aren’t registered to vote.

Applications to register to vote have increased significantly after the May elections:

  • Thursday (12 May)  45,639 applications
  • Friday (13 May)   43,167 applications
  • Saturday (14 May) 32,945 applications

You can see more about the numbers of people applying, including their age, on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/performance/register-to-vote

Alex Robertson, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission said:

“This is an historic event and we don’t want anyone to miss out by not knowing when the registration deadline is.

“If you aren’t already registered then make sure you do it by the 7 June deadline or you won’t be able to vote in the referendum. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes online atwww.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Nearly fifty thousand people are doing this every day now.”

In relation to the booklet:

“A lot of people won’t have voted in a referendum before or will be unsure what the question is.  Look out for the booklet coming through your door, which will give you all the information you need.”

The Commission is also advising voters to think about where they will be on polling day.   Anyone who is likely to be away on Thursday 23 June should consider applying for a postal or proxy (allowing someone you trust to vote on your behalf) vote.

Advertising will run until polling day and appear across TV, radio, video on demand services, billboards, digital and social media.

Ahead of the Scottish referendum (18 September 2014):

  • There was a huge surge in voter registrations with nearly 140,000 people successfully registered to vote in the final weeks
  • Over 11,000 applied to registered to vote after the deadline and missed out as a result
  • On polling day there were 4,283,938 people registered to vote, the largest ever electorate for a Scotland wide poll.

Ahead of the General Election (7 May 2015):

  • On the deadline day for registration (20 April) there were 469,000 applications to register to vote.
  • 23,000 people (21 April) applied the next day and missed out.

Ahead of the 5 May 2016 elections:

  • There were 1,387,000 applications to register to vote during the Commission’s public awareness campaign (14 March to 18 April).
  • 54,800 applications were made the day after the registration deadline (19 April) and will not have been able to vote in the May elections but, if eligible, will be able to vote in the EU referendum.

More information for voters is available at http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/uk-voters.

To register to vote, head to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Campaign assets available for media use in support of this story:

Link to a digital version of the booklet

Link to the campaign television advert

Link to the campaign radio advert

Link to the campaign digital and print images

Interviews with Commission spokespeople are available.

If you would like to order hard copies of the booklet these are available via the press office contact below.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Mazida Khatun in the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0714/out of office hours 07789 920 414 ormkhatun@electoralcommission.org.uk.

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Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
  2. The EU Referendum Act (2015) gave the Electoral Commission a statutory responsibility to promote awareness of the referendum.
  3. Bilingual versions of the booklet are being delivered to households in Wales. Alternative formats will also be available.
  4. The total budget for the public awareness campaign including all advertising and production costs is £6.4m, of which the booklet is £2.4m (production and delivery). 
  5. Electoral Commission research from 2014 showed that completeness of the electoral registers varied according to: 
  • Length of residence. 94% complete for people more than 16 years in property; 40% for less than a year. 
  • Age. 76% for 18-19 year olds; 70% 20-24 year olds; 95% for over 65s.
  • Housing tenure. Private renters have the lowest level of completeness (63%) and home-owners the highest.

 

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