Are we on the way to automatic voter registration?

Hillary Clinton advocated for automatic voter registration during the 2016 US election - but could we see it introduced in the UK?

Positioning herself as a champion of democracy, Hillary Clinton backed automatic voter registration during the 2016 Presidential elections. It's a policy which plays a vital part in the electoral process in Victoria, Australia, and in Scandinavian states. In Victoria, the electoral roll takes only 5 people to maintain with a 95% success rate - and is dramatically cheaper to run, as well as taking down an important barrier to democracy.

Manchester city council has been praised for plans to roll out a scheme in local elections. Under the plans - advocated by groups like TalkPolitics and companies such as Ben & Jerry's - individuals would be automatically registered to vote upon being given a national insurance number, and could Opt-out of the scheme if they had worries about data protection, or disagreed with the political system in principle.

The Green Party has recently adopted automatic voter registration as official party policy - and Louise Haigh MP, Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley, has come out strongly in support of the policy.

Opponents of the scheme think that it should be up to the individual to register to vote, because those involved in democracy should be committed to it. However, those who argue for rolling out the scheme say it would take down a barrier to democratic participation and make government more representative by increasing voter turnout.

Currently, voter turnout in the UK is lower than similar countries - at 68.7% in the 2017 election. 

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