Mysterious disappearing voters

8 Sep

How many voters are there in Newham?

This was sitting on the electoral register page of the council website for about a year (I took the screenshot in May, just after the elections):

Referendum 1

If 10,350 is 5% of registered voters, simple maths tells us that the total number of people on the electoral register in Newham in April 2013 was exactly 207,000.

But according to the published results for the council elections, the electorate in May 2014 was just 195,419. Some 11,581 voters vanished from the rolls in a year. 

The electoral register page has recently been updated. I grabbed this image today:

Referendum 2

So now the electoral roll stands at 192,600. Another 2,819 voters have disappeared in the last three months.

A decline in local voters is not entirely unprecedented. Between 1971 and 1998 Newham’s electorate declined from 183,00 to 139,000. But those were very different economic times. In recent years Newham’s population has been booming. Between 2001 and 2011 it grew from 243,905 to 308,000 – that’s an increase of close to 26%.

So why, I wonder, has the number of registered voters in the borough taken a sudden nosedive in the past 18 months?

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