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News / 7 August, 2015

Hackney’s electoral register revealed as most inaccurate in the country

Electoral Commission report reveals 23 per cent of entries on the electoral roll are unconfirmed

Kings Crescent Estate polling_460

Bogus entries: 23 per cent of entries on Hackney’s electoral roll are unconfirmed

Hackney’s electoral register is the most inaccurate in Great Britain, according to new figures from the independent election watchdog.

Data from a recent Electoral Commission report reveals that 23 per cent of the entries on Hackney’s register have not been confirmed.

The national average of unconfirmed names is 4 per cent, and Hackney is one of only three local authorities with more than 14 per cent unconfirmed entries.

These entries, which in June 2015 constituted 1.9 million entries across Great Britain, are known as ‘carry forwards’ – entries that have been retained on the registers under ‘transitional arrangements’.

In the June report ‘Assessment of progress with the transition to Individual Electoral Registration’ the explanation for Hackney’s discrepancy favoured by the Electoral Commission is that a large proportion of the 23 per cent are bogus entries.

Hackney Council has found it difficult to implement the new system whereby names on the electoral register are matched to other data held by the local authority.

But the report also considers the possibility that the unconfirmed entries could be genuine voters who have been unwilling to comply with the local election department’s requests for information.

Time running out

Hackney’s 23 per cent unconfirmed figure is expected to fall after the Council’s annual canvass this summer which will either remove some of these entries that should not be there, or get some of these people to register to vote under the new system.

But the pressure is on because the government is bringing forward the transition cut-off date for implementing electoral registers based entirely on the new system to December 2015, against the advice of the Electoral Commission.

There are fears that if voters cannot be confirmed the electoral register risks shrinking by nearly a quarter, which could well trigger a spate of local ward boundary revisions.

This shrinkage could also have implications for the parliamentary boundary review.

Registration ‘big challenge’

A Hackney Council spokeswoman said the new system was a “big challenge” particularly in light of the December deadline. She said: “We will be bringing in extra resources to make sure we can process applications and encourage residents to register to vote.”

“Anyone who has not registered under the new system by 1 December will be removed from the register and so it is imperative that every resident responds to the form we are sending.”

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: “Areas with high population mobility, student populations and large numbers of private renters – such as Hackney – have faced particular challenges in getting their residents on to the new electoral registers.

“The annual canvass currently taking place will help ensure that the electoral registers are as accurate and complete as possible before the move to the new registration system ends.”

/ 7 August, 2015
  • Paul

    No great surprise; a Canadian friend resident in the UK went to the Town Hall to register and was told he was ineligible. After that was sorted out, he and his (British) wife ended up on the official register at the polling station twice.

  • pat

    Try getting through to the electoral office.Your told that your no.1 in line then your switched to the contact center.They tell you to email the office.They wont answer why you cant get through to the office.Is there anyone there to answer the emails?

  • TheGreatSmellOf Brute

    Having an even less accurate electoral register than neighbouring Tower Hamlets, with its history of ballot-stuffing, must be quite an achievement for Hackney! 😉

  • Marcel Pagnol

    I have received six letters requiring me to confirm my registration on the roll in the past two years.
    One of them even had me registered as British, although I am French.
    The amount of time and paper wasted is worrying if you multiply that by the number residents in the ward, let alone in the borough.
    The word incompetence comes to mind.

  • I’ve lived in Hackney for nearly 30 years, over 20 of those at my present address.
    After having been registered with no problems for that time, the new electoral registration system resulted in over a year’s plague of repeated electoral registration letters and bureaucratic mess-ups. I’ve had to go to the Town Hall to sort it out in person, twice – then they got it wrong, yet again, on my postal vote for the general election!
    Now they’ve sent me yet another registration form. Marcel is so right about the wasted resources but the incompetence is almost more worrying.

  • pat

    I got put through to the contact center again and was told that because of the large amount of calls to the electoral office they(the electoral office)werent taking any calls.Its good to know that the people who are dealing with burst pipes and holes in roofs are also in charge of this mess

  • Russ

    Sounds about right. Myself and my partner moved flats two months before the election from one place in Hackney to another, switching constituencies from Hackney North to Hackney South.

    We both registered online at our new address as soon as we moved in. Come polling day, because of all the issues going on I called to confirm where we were registered, if anywhere.

    My girlfriend was still registered at our old flat and hadn’t been added to the register in out new one. I for some reason was registered at both the old address and and new address!

  • Bernard

    We were moved to the new “Individual Electoral Registration” system in July after receiving official notice from central government. We used the online registration system and received a confirmation email. In September the old household based form arrived in the post from Hackney council. We ignored it assuming they are still just bombarding every address during the transition. Yesterday a “canvasser” doorstepped me as I arrived home while she was also attempting to have a conversation with my neighbour. I said we are on the new system but she said they are both in use and we have to register on the old one too. I expressed my doubts at which point she shoved a form in front of me and said just sign here and it will be fine. Refusing her kind offer she gave me a card with Hackney Electoral Services telephone number. When I have the odd day to waste I will phone them. NB given the request for a signature and nothing but a plain plastic Hackney ID, it does not inspire confidence that they are prioritising the tackling of electoral fraud.

  • pat

    Perhaps Jules Pipe only reads Hackney Today.If he were to take his nose out of that he might start to see what is actually happening in the borough.

  • I was put on the register twice last year, receiving two poll cards. When I called up to correct it, they removed both entries, leaving me ineligible to vote. When I called up to correct that, they said my postcode wasn’t in Hackney (?!) – which makes it all the more interesting/annoying that they keep sending letters (and personal callers, during normal office hours, so of course nobody is home) to my address complaining that nobody there is registered to vote. Truly impressive levels of incompetence.

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