Millions Apply to Vote in British Election Ahead of Tuesday’s Deadline

LONDON (Reuters) -
A voter leaves a polling station in Stamford Hill, North London, in Britain’s previous state elections. (Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

More than 2 million under-35s have applied to vote in Britain’s Dec. 12 election since the poll was called just four weeks ago, government data showed ahead of Tuesday’s registration deadline.

The outcome of next month’s election, which will determine how, when and even whether Britain leaves the European Union, remains uncertain. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are ahead in opinion polls but two published this week have shown their lead narrowing. Voters have until 23:59 p.m. on Tuesday to register and can do so online.

Britain’s electoral watchdog, the Electoral Commission, said one in three 18- and 19-year-olds are not registered to vote.

“Private renters, too, anyone who has recently moved home, people without a fixed address and those in some black and Asian communities – all these groups are less likely to be registered. They are at risk of missing out,” said Electoral Commission Director of Communications, Policy and Research Craig Westwood.

“If you want to make sure your voice is heard, do it now.”

Government data shows that nearly 3.2 million people applied to register to vote between Oct. 29, when the election was called, and Monday. Of these, almost 1.2 million were under 25 and just under 966,000 were aged 25-34.

The final number added to the electoral register could be lower, as some may turn out to have already been registered.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been on a push to encourage people to register, particularly young voters who are typically more likely to back his left-leaning party.

“Dodgy landlords are registered to vote. Bad bosses are registered to vote. And the super-rich who’ve rigged the system are registered to vote. Are you?” he said.