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Councillor Urges Us To Register To Vote With New Individual Voter Scheme

Published on: 24 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 24 Jul, 2014

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A new system of electoral registration is about to be introduced and each individual Guildford borough resident will soon receive a letter from the council explaining the scheme.

A Guildford Borough Council (GBC) statement said: “Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is the biggest change to how people vote in almost a hundred years.”

Under the new scheme, registration for everyone living in a household by one person will no longer be possible and each person will now responsible for their own registration.

The statement continued: “Our electoral registration officer is now writing to each registered elector in the borough. This letter will let residents know if they have been automatically transferred to the new IER register or if they need to do anything else.”

Cllr Spooner, lead councillor for licensing and governance

Cllr Spooner, lead councillor for licensing and governance

Lead councillor for licensing and governance, Cllr Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham), said: “This important change to how we register to vote gets rid of the outdated ‘head of household’ system and places electoral registration in the hands of individuals.

“It gives people more control over the process and increases the accuracy of the electoral register. Being able to register online also makes it a quick, easy and secure process.”

To register to vote people will now need to provide their national insurance number and date of birth. This is used to make sure that the person applying is who they say they are and helps reduce the risk of fraud.

Most of those people already on the electoral register will be automatically added to the new IER register after their name and address is matched against existing government records. Those people who are not successfully matched may need to provide additional information.

Cllr Spooner added: “Being registered and able to vote is a crucial part of local and national democracy. I encourage everyone to look out for their letter telling them what, if anything, they need to do next to make sure they’re in the new IER register.”

Observers of the local political scene in Guildford are expecting a particularly interesting borough council election next May (2015). Discontent, in some quarters, with the council’s handling of the Local Plan is threatening to cause some green belt campaign groups to put up their own candidates. At the same time, Ukip, if their popularity continues following their recent European election success, the vote could be split even further.

Some councillors are already predicting that the Conservatives will lose control of Guildford Borough Council. Others are wondering if concerns over local issues might affect the Guildford result in the simultaneous general election.

The change comes following a report “Electoral fraud in the UK” written by the Electoral Commission and published in January this year. Within the  report it states: “There is a consistent underlying level of concern about electoral fraud. This is shared by a broad range of people including voters, those standing for election and those running elections.

“We do not believe it is likely that fraud has been attempted in more than a handful of wards in any particular local authority area.”

But it continues to say: “The majority of cases of alleged electoral fraud relate to local government elections in England, rather than elections to the UK Parliament or other legislative bodies.”

It is not thought that Guildford is an area considered to be at particular risk.

According to Yahoo news (22 July): “Around 7.5 million people are not properly registered to vote in Great Britain, a watchdog said.

“The Electoral Commission said its latest research suggested the number had stabilised since 2011 after rising for a decade. But with younger people the most likely to be missing, it said it hoped a new system of online registration will start to swing things back the other way.

“Reforms were also needed to end the “unacceptable” exclusion of some EU citizens from casting their votes in the UK because of an over-complex registration system which requires them to complete multiple forms.”

For more information visit or 

Local residents should contact us by 8 August if they do not receive a letter. The GBC electoral services team can be contacted by email at or by telephone on 01483 444115.

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Responses to Councillor Urges Us To Register To Vote With New Individual Voter Scheme

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 26, 2014 at 1:12 am

    The biggest electoral fraud is the claim of the “secret” ballot while vote cards and their stubs can be linked together by bar-code and serial number.

    Now, with the NI Number tied into the electoral voting system, not only will a future corrupt section of government be able to turn off your gas and electricity, from its source (with the forced introduction of remote electric and gas metres brought in by the past labour government) they will also be able to force your employer to sack you for voting the wrong way.

    Much the same as the surveillance cameras – nothing to fear except the operators.

    Or am I just paranoid? What was than noise? …..

  2. Martin Elliott Reply

    July 26, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Just because Jim Allen may be paranoid, does not mean “they” aren’t picking on him – and the rest of us.

    Polling station officers always show surprise to observations that the vote is only private, not secret. They do now have standard responses but they are hardly reassuring.

    If “they” would never check my vote, why has the system been enhanced to make it easily computer readable?

    Of course it is really there, not to track individual votes, but for cases of personation or other fraud, and that is rare, but has been suspected in several council wards in Surrey.

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