More than 100,000 people have registered to vote this week as Boris Johnson pushes for a snap general election next month.
The number of applications on the Government’s online registration portal began soaring after the prime minister announced he would be tabling a motion for a new election under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.
The Independent reports that a total of 52,408 applications were submitted on Monday, followed by 64,485 on Tuesday – well above the daily average of around 27,000 over the previous month.
And thousands more have signed up this morning, with an average of 100 users a minute on the voter registration site before 8am, and the number rising by the hour.
According to government figures, of the 82,400 people who registered to vote on 4 September, just over half (50.2%) were aged 34 and under.
That’s good new for parties traditionally supported by younger people, says The Guardian.
“It’s not surprising that there will be a lot of young people in these figures,” said Dr Toby James, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia who has authored reports on Britain’s low levels of voter registrations.
With an election expected as early as 15 October, the surge in sign-ups is likely to continue.
“I think that there is probably a tidal wave of applications to come,” says James. “We’re all guilty of leaving things to the last minute.”
So how do you register to vote?
To cast a vote – either in person or by post – you must be on the electoral roll. If you aren’t already registered at your current address, you can register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. You’ll need to give the following information:
You can also register to vote using a paper form. To do so, you need to contact your local Electoral Registration Office and ask them to post a form to you. You’ll then need to return the completed form to the Electoral Registration Office.
There are different forms for postal registration from the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland (EONI).
How do I check if I am already on the electoral roll?
If you were registered to vote in the 2019 European Parliament elections and have not moved house since, you don’t need to re-register. If you’re not sure whether you registered, you need to contact your local Election Registration Office or EONI to check.
How do I get a postal vote?
If you are not able to attend a polling station on election day for whatever reason, you can register to vote by post. Download a postal vote request form from the gov.uk website, fill it in and return it by post ahead of the deadline that will be announced when the election date is confirmed.
What if I live in Northern Ireland?
Unlike in other UK nations, citizens of Northern Ireland need to give an explanation for requesting a postal vote. The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland states that the only acceptable reasons are disability, employment or education.
When is the deadline for applying for a postal vote?
Your local electoral registration office must have your application for a postal vote by 5pm at least 11 working days before the election. If 15 October is announced as election day, your form will need to reach your local registration office before or on Monday 30 September.
What is the difference between a postal vote and a proxy vote?
Like a postal vote, a proxy vote also allows you to cast a vote without attending the polling station. This difference is that a proxy vote means you get somebody else to attend and vote on your behalf. You must give a reason why you need a proxy vote, and a qualified person must sign your application.
When you apply for a proxy vote, you specify the person who will vote for you – and they must then attend the polling station in person. The Electoral Commission provides more information about how to apply.
When is the deadline for arranging a proxy vote?
The last chance is 5pm, six working days before the election – so for a 15 October election, the deadline would be Monday 7 October. You will have to send the form back to your local electoral registration office, either by post or emailing a scanned copy.
What if I miss all deadlines but still want to vote?
It is possible in certain circumstances to apply for a proxy vote at the very last minute – if you have an accident and are in hospital, for example, or if you have a work emergency. The deadline for securing an emergency proxy vote is usually 5pm on the day of the election. More information is available here.