Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Following an American example

How to ensure that voters are legal and that turnout is as high as possible? And what do you choose if those goals are in conflict? Are they in conflict? Lots of American politicians think so and choose to emphasize the necessity of ensuring voters are legal. Now, the coalition government in the UK has made that choice as well.

Labour conference: Harman attacks Tories over vote plan
Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman will accuse the Tories of changing the way people register to vote to make it harder for her party's supporters.

Instead of the household head listing eligible voters, the plan is that everyone will register themselves…

Ms Harman will say the plans will mean millions of voters, largely poor, young or black, will "fall off" the register…

As she winds up the Labour Party conference in Liverpool later, Ms Harman will say that 10 million people - from groups more likely to vote Labour - could "fall off" the electoral register…

She will add: "The Tories are hoping if they take away the right to vote from students, young people living in rented flats in our cities, people from ethnic minority communities... if fewer of them can vote it will help the Tories win."…

Ministers say the current system is open to fraud and that, in an effort to get more people onto the electoral register, voters' details will be cross-checked with other public databases in a "data-matching" pilot scheme.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said legislation to introduce individual registration was first introduced in 2009, and the new system would "modernise the electoral registration system and help to combat fraud"…

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