On May 7th, the United Kingdom will hold general elections, during which the 650 members of the House of Commons will be elected.
As part of the process, the electoral register was opened to new voters, who had the possibility to use an online option; this became the preferred choice for most citizens, especially those in the range between 16 and 34 years of age.
According to the data gathered by the UK government online platform, during the last week 96.7% of the 1,056,900 citizens who participated in the process did so digitally. It is worth noting that 33.82% of them were in the age range of 16 to 34.
Some other interesting facts about the UK online electoral register:
- Since the start of registrations in June 2014, the lowest percentage of citizens registered digitally on a given day was 51% (i.e. 49% chose paper forms), and the highest was 98%. This means that citizens showed their preference for the online platform from the start.
- On April 19th, the deadline for registration, 485,000 citizens registered online, a record.
The predominant use of this registration technology can be seen as an indicator that British society, which often employs digital means such as online banking and online government services, recognizes the benefits of technology applied to electoral processes. The high turnout by the youngest demographic segment confirms the success of this tool during this key phase previous to the election.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission told The Guardian that formerly, if someone decided to register on the final day, they would have had to fill out a paper application and take it to a local electoral registration office. “This time, people only had to click on a link to fill in a form, which takes five minutes. It makes it all much easier”.
During this registration period, several political figures spoke in favor of the adoption of online voting for the 2020 general elections. These included Prime Minister David Cameron and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow.