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Electoral Register

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 26th July 2019.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will commission research on the effect of levels of functional illiteracy on electoral registration rates.

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

In its democratic engagement plan, Every Voice Matters: Building a Democracy That Works For Everyone, the Government explored key barriers to registration identified through research and face to face engagement. We are tackling these barriers, including those faced by survivors of domestic abuse, homeless electors and young people, and have reported on our progress in our follow up report, Democratic Engagement: Respecting, Protecting and Promoting our Democracy.

Although it did not emerge as a factor in its own right, we are aware of the potential contribution that lack of literacy makes to the under registration of a number of groups, such as those with learning disabilities, homeless people and those with specific language barriers.

The voter registration website is reviewed regularly to ensure it meets the Government’s service design standards to make it as easy to use as possible and we have produced easy read guides to registering to vote in partnership with Mencap. We are also working with civil society organisations to encourage engagement with those under registered groups who are more likely to experience lower levels of literacy.

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