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Address-less voter registration #121

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philipjohn opened this issue Mar 18, 2014 · 2 comments

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@philipjohn
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commented Mar 18, 2014

Reading through an article on the age disparity amongst registered voters[1] the following question popped into my head;

"Do we have to have voter registration tied to an address?"

It's only when we come to actually vote that we need to be attached to an address (for obvious reasons). So why not leave that bit until voting day itself? That could make registration easier.

For example....

Current situation (A)

Before voting day, registration is;

  • registering the person
  • at a specific address

On voting day;

  • said person turns up with a poll card
  • votes

Easier (B)

Before voting day, registration is;

  • registering the person

On voting day;

  • said person turns up with ID and proof of address
  • votes

Benefits of B

  • Registration could be automatic upon;
    • eligible citizens reaching voting age
    • people granted citizenship (and at voting age)
  • Consider this; if Royal Mail want me to collect a parcel from the depot I have to take the little card AND photo ID. They turn you away without photo ID. Conversely to vote, I can just turn up at the polling station with a black and white polling card and vote - no effort to check I'm actually that person stated on the card. B would require photo ID and proof of address at the polling station.
  • This is a good hook with which to introduce electronic voting (auto-scanning and verification of ID too, anyone?)

Issues with B

Clearly, there are issues.

  • Administration - B requires more administration at the polling stations which won't work out well while pieces of dead tree are ticked as you hand over your polling card.
  • It would be too easy to vote twice, meaning that there'd need to be some sort of tech to back this all up to catch duplicate votes

There are probably many more holes, please prise them open :)

  1. We should enfranchise young people at 16 while they are still living at home in a settled community
@Floppy

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commented Mar 18, 2014

I wonder if http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/ have anything to say on this?

@philipjohn

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commented Mar 20, 2014

They have a page about individual voter registration, which is being brought in now. It doesn't say anything about how they think it should work and what would constitute "implemented badly" as far as they're concerned. Will do more digging at a later date.

@Floppy Floppy added the policy label Jan 13, 2015

@Floppy Floppy added idea and removed policy labels Mar 12, 2017

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