New registration plans could cut voter numbers

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A CHANGE to voting registration rules proposed by a department overseen by Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg could see more than 100,000 people in the city disappear from the Electoral Register, Labour politicians claim.

The Government’s Cabinet office, overseen by Deputy Prime Minister Clegg, is planning to change the way people register to vote. They will register as individuals rather than on household basis.

But Jenny Russell, who chairs the Electoral Commission, warned: “It is logical to suggest that those who do not vote in elections will not see the point of registering to vote, and it is possible the register may therefore go from 90 per cent completeness to 60 to 65 per cent.”

Sheffield Labour councillors say the change could see between 109,000 and 131,000 people in Sheffield alone drop off the Electoral Roll.

Mr Clegg dismissed the claims as ‘wild allegations’ with no evidence, adding the Government was working to increase the number of people on the register.

But Sheffield Council’s Labour leader, Coun Julie Dore, said: “I am completely outraged by the Government’s plans, which could see tens of thousands of people in Sheffield removed from the electoral register.

“This plan is likely to impact upon people who are poor, young and from ethnic minorities.

“I am committed to doing everything we can to make sure as many people as possible take part in elections.

“It is wrong for the Government to create proposals that will mean fewer people have the opportunity to do so.”

But Mr Clegg said: “The only change we are proposing is that individuals rather than households register because we believe it should be each citizen’s responsibility.

“There is no evidence to make such a wild allegation about a potential fall in registered numbers of voters.”