Backbytes: Two per cent of electorate register to vote online, government congratulates itself

By Backbytes
27 Aug 2014 View Comments

In an effort to persuade the unwashed masses that their views really do matter when it comes to election time, the government - which as soon as polling day is over will go back to ignoring what we citizens think - launched a scheme to encourage online voter registration in June.

Two months later, the government has hailed the new system a success with "overwhelmingly positive feedback" because one million voters have used the internet to apply to exercise their democratic right to vote.

Further reading

Now, one million might sound like a large number, but the UK's population currently sits at 64 million people. Okay, so remove those ineligible to vote (figuratively, not literally...) and the number of citizens who can register to vote online works out at about 50 million people.

So, about two per cent of the good British voting public have registered to vote online and according to the government, that's a "huge success".

"We designed this new online service with the user in mind, and it's great that such a large number of people across the UK are using the service and responding well to our improvements," Minister for the Constitution - no, we didn't know it was a real position either - Sam Gyimah MP gleefully announced.

"We've made registering to vote easier than ever before and it's really positive that nearly a quarter of those registering in the last month have been under the age of 35. But we know there's more to do to maximise registration rates, so we will continue our efforts to ensure that everybody has their say in the how the country is run," he also said.

Whether he followed the statement by cackling evilly before shouting, "Fools, they actually believe that!" isn't confirmed.

Of course, the "huge success" that is two per cent of the voting public registering to vote online forms part of the government's ‘Digital by Default' programme, which aims to save taxpayer money by transferring services to the internet, thereby eliminating the need to use that expensive paper stuff.

We at BackBytes registered to use our democratic right to be ignored by politicians and can confirm that the system does at least live up to its claim of offering registration in less than three minutes.

However, what's perplexing is given that this is an entirely online system - and given the fact it forms part of the government's Digital by Default policy - why did our local council feel the need to inform us that we'd registered by sending us a letter? Surely, if you're going to get up an online registration system, then email confirmation would suffice?

Good old joined-up government thinking, eh?

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