Time is running out to get on the electoral register in order to vote in May’s election. The deadline is 20 April.
Understandably, the Government does not yet shout the date from the rooftops because it wants people to sign up now rather than put off the act and never get round to it.
The changeover from household to individual registration to reduce fraud was never going to be smooth. Students are a particular problem because those living in halls of residence used to be put on the electoral roll en masse by their universities, but that will not happen under the new system.
It might have been wiser to continue the practice, but ministers decided there could be no exceptions. In a welcome but rather belated move, the Government will now spend more than £500,000 on encouraging students to vote.
If Labour’s suggestion of a plot to disenfranchise young people were true, it would be a very expensive plot. However, Labour’s concerns about the implementation of the change cannot be dismissed.
Ed Miliband’s warning that a million people had gone missing from the register was rubbished by ministers. But the Electoral Commission said yesterday that the number of people on the roll dropped by 920,000 during last year, so the Labour leader’s prediction was justified.
Hopefully, the election campaign will remind those who need to do so to register. We should all do our bit. If you know someone who is not on the list, urge them to sign up at gov.uk/register-to-vote.
It is easier and quicker than you might think.