Residents in Newcastle are being urged to sign up to vote as part of one of the biggest changes in the electoral registration system in almost 100 years.
The new system – called Individual Electoral Registration (IER) – aims to boost the electoral register and ensure more people who are entitled to vote actually do so. It is also designed to tackle electoral fraud and pave the way for online registration.
Under IER, each person who is entitled to vote but is not registered to vote will need to complete an individual form. Previously, the ‘head of household’ was responsible for registering everyone who lived at that property by completing or checking the form sent out by the council.
One of the advantages of the new system is that people will be able to register online and feel more confident that they are registered securely.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Returning Officer, John Sellgren, said: “Our electoral register is good at the moment, with around 90 per cent of those eligible to vote being included, but there are some parts of our community which are under-represented and we want to change that.
“If you’re not on the register you’re missing out on one of the biggest decisions anybody can make – having a say in who represents you.”
Many residents who are on the existing electoral register will automatically be moved to the new one. However, some people will need to take action to join or remain on it.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council will write to residents to let them know whether they have been transferred to the new register. Those who have not, and all those registering for the first time, will need to provide their date of birth and their National Insurance number.