back to article Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

Millions of people may be unable to vote in May's general election because the Cabinet Office refused to heed warnings from its own pilot programmes two years ago. Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) at local authorities who have spoken to us on condition of anonymity say the Cabinet Office – the secretive Whitehall …

  1. Graham Marsden
    FAIL

    No doubt...

    ... the vast majority of those who end up being unable to vote wouldn't have voted Tory in any case, so as far as the Cabinet Office are concerned, there's no problem there...

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: No doubt...

      Yep, Frankie wasn't so mad after all. Worth his weight in (none) votes.

    2. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Re: No doubt... @Graham Marsden

      I believe that this move started under the previous shower, it was introduced into Northern Ireland in 2002, so clear evidence of vote rigging there or not? The UK's politically independent Electoral Commission had been pushing for such a reform for some time. The volume of suspected fraud in the 2010 election was a further source of pressure, though I am not confident that the new system will prevent that trouble.

      While my household appear to still be registered, (I checked last week) we have not had any invitation to do anything. As where I live is likely not a TAW* area, your suggestion appears not to hold much water, though it does say something about you talking without evidence or information.

      *TAW = member of the tax and waste party.

    3. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: No doubt...

      And in that regard, very much a re-run of 1992.

      Although the poll tax was officially called the "Community Charge" I think it very much suited the then administration for it to be so widely called by a name that, implicitly, linked payment to voting.

      I was most annoyed to find in 1992 that I wasn't able to vote, because the landlord of the house in which I rented a room had unilaterally taken it upon himself to decide, when the form arrived, addressed to him, that we probably wouldn't want to have to pay the tax, so he didn't put our names down on the form.

      In the office where I worked then, 5 out of 7 people were not registered, largely because of concern about the poll tax, either on their part or as in my case that of "well meaning" other people.

      Certainly in 1992, I think it's a fair assumption that many of those who were against the community charge would have been less likely to vote for the incumbent administration. It would be interesting to know how many people did disappear from the electoral rolls, compared to before the introduction of the charge.

      It may, of course, be cock up rather than conspiracy. But to for the same party to "lose" so many people from the registers when an election is considered by all to be very close not once, but twice, will certainly raise some eyebrows.

      1. Otto is a bear.

        Re: No doubt...

        I'd go for something slightly stronger than cock-up, more a failure to learn from a project that was canned for political reasons, that had run into exactly the same problems.

        It is very difficult to absolutely verify a persons identity, funnily enough the electoral role is one of the sources of identity that you can use, but it does get very cyclical, and it was found that there are more people out there than you think that do not have:

        An NI Number

        A Passport

        A Driving Licence

        A Permanent Address

        The NHS Number would be great, but a lot of people have no idea what it is, or how to find it, and it wouldn't matter because the NHS won't let you use it. It's great because it's a service that everybody wants and needs, so they don't tend to lie too much when providing personal details.

        That leave the credit reference agencies, who want paying.

        But then, if you fill in the form, they only have your word for it, you don't need to supply anything else to get on the role. If only we had a, oh wait. The only way you can get a true representation of the population on the electoral role is, if it provides a continuing service that people want, and more and more people don't give a &*££ about voting.

      2. Michael Dunn
        Headmaster

        Re: No doubt...@Nigel Whitfield

        Interestingly, the "poll" in poll tax is not connectrd with polls as in voting, but a reuse of the old phrase "poll tax" where "poll" meant "head."

        1. Adrian Midgley 1

          But a (voting) poll

          is also a counting of heads.

    4. Sid Valley

      Re: No doubt...

      Yep, a search in gov.uk on GDS shows among the results "Government Decontamination Service", whose mission we may assume is to ensure the purity of the electoral register.

    5. DrBobMatthews

      Re: No doubt...

      No doubt about your patronising arrogance, the vast majority of students would certianly not vote Tory or for their tame lapdogs the LimpDems. I suppose that you don't have a registered name because you are nothing more than a shill for the Tories.

  2. Dr Paul Taylor

    Why do it in the election year?

    What moron decided to change the system of electoral registration in the year of a general election?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do it in the election year?

      "What moron decided to change the system of electoral registration in the year of a general election?"

      A political party that relies on voters who have been at the same address for years, like pensioners & home owners.

  3. William Donelson

    Voter Suppression; Taking lessons from Repuglicans in the USA

    I see conservatives here in the UK are happy to set up Voter Suppression that benefits the Tory Party.

    Treason, really.

  4. Ashton Black

    The cynical part of me...

    Thinks that the warning about, students, transients, married women and the like was willfully ignored, due to voting demographics. To me, this smacks of gerrymandering. That or they are completely incompetent. Either one is mildly depressing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The cynical part of me...

      > To me, this smacks of gerrymandering.

      Potentially this is full on electoral fraud.

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: The cynical part of me...

        It's electoral fraud to say that individuals who want to vote should register to vote themselves and not leave it to the "head of the household" (an outdated 1950s concept if there ever was one).

        What a bizarre view of the world.

        1. h3

          Re: The cynical part of me...

          Given that this is the first I have heard about it I think it probably is.

          (Not that it makes much difference to me being in one of the safest seats in the country)

        2. streaky Silver badge

          Re: The cynical part of me...

          What a bizarre view of the world.

          It's not a wildly unreasonable assertion. Who is going to come out worst from a system that relies on internet-based individual registration that requires some form of id, hint: they're not rich and living in Kensington and they're not very likely to vote Tory anyway. If there's a huge hole in support for non-Tory candidates where there shouldn't be one because people are being turned away at poll stations candidates in the final election tally there's a fair chance of the courts nullifying the outcome, and that's going to be extraordinarily expensive.

          Personally speaking I make sure my credit report is correct and I have a recent passport so my registration went through very quickly but the holes in the thing are glaringly obvious.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: The cynical part of me...

        AC wrote: Potentially this is full on electoral fraud.

        Just as much electoral fraud as the other lot's refusal to adjust the size of constituencies to reflect the movement of people out of some areas and into others. The disparity in electorate between constituencies is another reason the UK doesn't look much better than a banana republic.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The cynical part of me...

      I worked there for a while. Used to suggest thinking about the tougher bits of systems I worked on before we jumped into code. You know, mitigate risk, save taxpayer money... Instead I was formally reprimanded (I'm serious) for not embracing agile, or user needs. After which my manager told me he couldn't trust me enough to work with other gov. departments. It got me an "under performed" on my annual review.

      Incompetent...?

      1. ppawel
        Devil

        Re: The cynical part of me...

        > Instead I was formally reprimanded (I'm serious) for not embracing agile, or user needs.

        OH. MY. GOD. Are you seriously serious?!?! That is scary as hell... I have seen agile being used as an excuse for many bad/sad things but this one has to top the list!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Easily fixed

          Crazy serious. The absolute lack of IT (systems) experience at GDS, and the total conviction of their godly ability are things I've not experienced anywhere. Egos from hell To be fair, there are some diamonds in the rough. The guy that heads up support is unbelievable in the sense that he knows his stuff, calls you out on your bullshit and os likeable, to boot. Unfortunately for every one of him there are three tech arcs that are the antithesis of everything you'd expect from an experienced tech guy.

      2. Adrian Tawse

        Yet another Agile F**K up

        Agile is crap. This is not to say the ideas in The Agile Manifesto are rubbish, just the way so many lame brains have interpreted it. It is the difficult parts that very often determine the basic structure of an application, solve those problems first, then move on to the easy bits. The emphasis on having something to show quickly leads to an overwhelming temptation to do the reverse. Software is not additive, you cannot add new features just by adding more code if the structure does not support it. Lame Brains and Project Managers, they all came from Golga Frensham together with Telephone Sanitizers.

        1. DrBobMatthews

          Re: Yet another Agile F**K up

          So true.Some years ago, having explained to a bunch of collective morons that the database that they designed was totally inaccurate due to the fact not one of them had database design, test and implimentation skills I decided that perhaps I would be better employed working with professionals rather than damage my blood pressure dealing with idiots in Central Government. Since making that decison I am more relaxed and better off financially.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well paint me surprised

    "Areas with either higher proportions of students (aged 16-74) [sic], higher proportions of people living in private rented accommodation and/or higher proportions of people living in communal establishments had relatively lower match rates."

    So people who would, by and large, never consider voting for either coalition partner again. Who'd have thunk that?

  6. hplasm Silver badge
    Holmes

    I predict-

    grumbling amongst the disenfranchised...

    How convenient. Gerrymandering is such an unpleasant word...

  7. Necronomnomnomicon

    It worked for me, but not well

    Because of a house move, me and the better half had to register to vote at our new address. We used the online form, it all worked, we got an email saying we'd be notified by our local council when the process was complete. Then we heard nothing for 10 weeks. In the end we had to ring the local council, and a guy there confirmed that we were both on at the new address.

    I don't know whether us being kept in the dark was an issue on the .gov end or the local council, but it was very annoying and the kind of thing that should be dead straightforward to fix.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: It worked for me, but not well

      I registered well in advance, and heard nothing at all. So on Voter Registration Day, whenever that was, I filled in the online form again.

      According to the letter from the council, I'm now registered twice, once with the initials of all my names, and once with the last one missing. Given that I entered the same NI number, I don't quite understand why they couldn't de-dupe something like that very easily.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It worked for me, but not well

        The online voter registration system doesn't retain any voter details. Once the application is passed on to the local authority all details are removed from the online system. Thus no, de-duplication is possible.

        (Just imagine the howling we would hear about GDS compiling a nationwide identity database if they did retain the information online to make de-duplication possible.)

  8. zebthecat

    And there was me thinking...

    ...that the GDS was staffed entirely by Agile code ninjas. Have we been misled?

    1. Ben Norris

      Re: And there was me thinking...

      to be fair to GDS there is not much they can do if antiquated Gov processes only allow them to be a frontend handing off registrations to manual paperwork departments.

      The real problem is that Gov isn't embracing digital processes, but trying to slap on the veneer of GDS, etc. to give the appearance they are moving forward. However it is failing because they haven't updated how they fundamentally work.

      1. ppawel
        Stop

        Re: And there was me thinking...

        Umm, no, not really. They can do a lot of things. Like for example not being total noobs in software development and using "agile" as an excuse to deliver shit.

      2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: And there was me thinking...

        I've seen that. Hell, I predicted that result when I designed an HelpDesk application. All the incident reports, which could only be entered when the computer was free of other more important tasks (this was the '80's and no such app existed, yet). So, what resulted was supervisors ended up taking turns entering/updating after their shift to provide higher ups an "up to date" summary for the nightly report.

        This result was exactly what I predicted to happen before I set out. I'd put it off by a year and a half by "completely forgetting" all about it and having "to start from scratch, so sorry." Later, the whole system was automated, including the paper pieces, just before I left. Needless to say, I wasn't the most popular person with the supervisors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And there was me thinking...

      more numpties than ninjas

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plus ça change then

    Political pet projects and pork - what could possibly go wrong?

    Using NI is a joke because the issue of NI numbers has been a mess for years, and I'm not sure that fairly important fundamental issue has been solved (AFAIK we still have plenty dupes and dead people in the system, supporting quite a lot of fraud).

    Next up is e-voting, because US researchers have already proven rather conclusively that it's not solved yet, and is thus in effect quite a risk to democracy (especially with a government that has something to hide and is thus wary of any hint at transparency).

    I personally witnessed Cabinet Office doing great things (no, honestly, but that was admittedly a while ago), it appears those people have retired..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plus ça change then

      "AFAIK we still have plenty dupes and dead people in the system, supporting quite a lot of fraud"

      Well, fraud works better for some parties than others. Particularly the one that enthusiastically inflated postal voting a few years back, and from press reports (even in the Graun) seems to be involved in nine out of ten formally investigated cases of electoral fraud. You know the one, the one that promised an end to boom and bust just before the biggest financial crisis in recorded history, and the same one that embroiled us in a protracted and disastrous war on made up evidence.

  10. gerryg

    Before "digital transformation" I suspected incompetence; after, I knew

    I have lived where I live for over 16 years. Every year I used the two part no-change on-line process to update the electoral roll

    With the new process involving gov.uk my local authority couldn't use that information but instead had to match my address details to those held by DWP. Despite me having contacted DWP a few years earlier from the same address by post because I couldn't use their on-line service for my NI record as my address details didn't match their records, they still couldn't match me, so I had to do the passport and inside leg measurement fandango.

    It does actually leave me wondering if they are deliberately this bad.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Before "digital transformation" I suspected incompetence; after, I knew

      Always remember:

      To err is human; to really foul it up you need a computer.

  11. Richard Jones 1
    Happy

    Check with the Local Council Setup?

    Having heard the stories about this I tried the option I thought to be the best. I rang the local office designed to deal with these matters. They apparently confirmed that the right number of names appeared to be registered at the address though no one had jumped through the various hoops apparently set out in much of the published stuff. So I travel hopefully!

  12. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Registering?

    I'ver done the online form thing and at the end it says that the info is passed off to my LA.

    Considering my LA has recently decided to use the services* of Crapita I'm now wondering if I'll be registered for the Genreal election in time and also , in which country.

    *services as in 'Divine Brown' services as in being screwed.

  13. Justicesays
    Unhappy

    Oh yeah, I'm sure they saw those issues.....

    You mean the incumbent Tory government found out their new voter registration system might disenfranchise a load of traditionally socialist voters and didn't jump right on it to fix that problem?

    Who would have thought it.

  14. SVV Silver badge

    My own experience

    I filled in the online form in about 2 minutes, which was surprisingly clear and well designed for a government website. A week later a letter arrived from the local council telling me my application had been successful.

    Having previously lived in a shared house and missed out on being registered when someone filled in the form with their own details and sent it back without telling anyone else, I think the new individual registration system is better.We got a leaflet through the door explaining the new system, and there are posters up everywhere explaining what to do to register (and have been for months now). And for those without home internet access there's always the local library, etc.

    Just to set the record straight, my previous experience of government IT was getting a few stages through the recruitment process for a Whitehall job at a department whose expensive failures are regularly reported on this site. The analysis of the work I submitted seemed to have been written by someone not long out of Oxbridge who'd read all the theory books, but had no idea about currently efficient tools and frameworks due to having no commercial experience. Unsurprisingly, that department's website is a turkey that's not so much half baked as barely defrosted.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: My own experience

      > Having previously lived in a shared house and missed out on being registered when someone filled in the form with their own details and sent it back without telling anyone else

      But...but...but.. there's a maximum THOUSAND POUND FINE for giving incorrect information on the form. Surely, when you informed the authorities, they vigorously investigated such a serious offence and prosecuted your flatmate? No? But surely, Parliament would never introduce an offence with headline catching fines / terms of imprisonment and then never enforce it? They do, you say? Well, I'm just astonished.

      [If sarcasm is delivered by black helicopter, then this is the appropriate warning icon] -->

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My council sent me a note saying that I was automatically registered and shouldn't need to tell them again - ever.

    If I move house then I would have to register with the new area - (or if I die). But what happens to my entry in the previous area that seems to be perpetual? When does that expire?

  16. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    NI numbers?

    What the fec has an NI number got to do with voting registration? Or passport number?

    NI numbers are issued to working people to allow certain benefits, pensions and tax to be processed. That's it. They have no validity for anything else, and it's wrong to ask people for them for anything else.

    Ditto passport numbers. A passport is issued to allow the holder to enter the country, or to enter another country. That's it. They have no validity for anything else, and it's wrong to ask people for them for anything else.

    There is some serious mission creep here. It's nearly as bad as the government requiring us to provide details to them to register a vehicle, and then selling that personal infoirmation to anyone who asks for it. It's wrong.

    1. MGJ

      Re: NI numbers?

      NI numbers are issued when your parents claim child benefit for you. Its used as a proxy so we can all pretend that we don't have a national identity number; instead we have five or six.

      1. vagabondo

        Re: NI numbers?

        I, and everyone that I know got our NI numbers when we left school or got to school-leaving age. Apart from some who came from other countries as adults nd had to apply for a NI number/card (employers used to buy stamps at the Post Office and stick them in their employees' cards, which required regular renewing as they filled up) before starting work.

        When the physical card was done away with the name associated with my NI number inexplicably changed to that of a similarly named cousin. At various times I haave spent hours neganged otiating with clerks to correct their records, but throughout my life the name on some govt records has spontaeously changed to the wrong one with occassional cross-contamination. This causes enormous inconvenience when a (local) govt office gets the wrong name and absolutely insists that I provide identification with the name on their records, but not the one on my passport, NHS card, bank account etc.

        Sorry for that, but I get really pissed off about it. When an inconsistency occurs in data sets it should either be investigated and fixed, or flagged and left; not just changed according to the toss of a coin.

    2. Vincent Ballard

      Re: NI numbers?

      The bit about overseas voters needing passport numbers was odd. I successfully renewed my overseas vote with just my NI number. (And yes, I know I was successful because I got a confirmation e-mail from the relevant ERO).

  17. James 51 Silver badge

    How in the name of $deity do these companies keep getting government contracts and actually paid for failing so spectacularly? Stuff like this is suppose to be the bedrock of our democracy. If you can't vote then you are excluded from the one thing politicians actually need from us once every few years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because, their contracts very carefully specify what successful delivery entails, and it's pretty much going to be around it being deliverd on time and to budget, nothing about whether the thing actually works. Certainly nothing relatd to it falling over in a heap if you happen to go near it and cough.

      At least that's been my experience with large IT projects and outsorcing, and dealing with the inevitable fallout. As i heard recently and thoroughly agree with, the reason outsourcing companies can do the same thing you could, but a lot cheaper, is becasue it's a load of crap.

  18. Irongut

    "This is the first General Election to use “Individual Voter Registration” (IVR), which requires each voter to register to vote individually... Previously, the “head of the household” was responsible for ensuring voters were registered to vote."

    How does this tally with the letter I received last week asking me, as the head of the household, to tell my local authority if the electoral registrations had changed? This was exactly the same kind of letter I've received in the past.

    I live in Scotland, maybe the Tories couldn't be bothered trying to fix the election here since they know they'd still lose?

    1. Fink-Nottle

      > I live in Scotland

      It would seem that, as the head of the household, you'd be legally liable if the SNP's plans for compulsory voting become legislation.

    2. vagabondo

      @Irongut

      I live in Scotland too. The letter that you got, if the same as mine and my friends' (Galloway and Glasgow) was sent one to each residential property with a description of the registrations that had been migrated to the IVR, with a request for anyone whose details were incorrect or missing to fix it using the new system. Most of this should have been cleaned up on the old system last year with the high voter turnout for the referendum. However at least two MSPs (incuding Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil) were lost in the process.

      http://www.thenational.scot/politics/risk-to-votes-as-scottish-minister-finds-he-is-missing-from-electoral-register.935

      @ Fink-Nottle

      The Electoral Commission stuff is reserved to the UK Government, so slights to the SNP or Scottish Government are misplaced.

  19. David Gosnell

    Not helped by ambiguity of need

    Registration won't have been helped by complete ambiguity over the need to, or not. We had something from our council only a couple of months ago talking about a change to a new system but saying that so long as the information listed was correct there was nothing to do. Yet all the publicity around the new system implies that's not the case, though nowhere does it explicitly spell it out either way - presumably because they know their existing data-set was so flawed they could make no guarantees of accuracy. So we went and re-registered anyway, and will await duplicate polling cards no doubt.

    As an extra twist we note that our response emails came back from Amazon web-services. What could possibly go wrong with entrusting all this to the cloud? Captchas or no captchas...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not helped by ambiguity of need

      "So we went and re-registered anyway, and will await duplicate polling cards no doubt."

      After the hassle we had getting my wife registered, (no passport/drivers licence/doesn't work), I wanted to confirm the registration for both of was correct. I can't find anywhere on the council website to check. Everything else related to how to register, how to vote, guidance for young voters etc is there, but no way to check if a registration is correct.

      In my travels around the web I found various websites which claim to use electoral roll data and on at least two of them I found my wife, my fiance and her son all living at my address. It appears they add new electoral roll data to their databases but don't remove old data. Son left home years ago and I married my fiance quite some years ago. At least now I know why she's such high maintenance now. There's two of 'em!!

      1. David Gosnell

        Re: Not helped by ambiguity of need

        Since I'd heard nothing back from the local council as promised, I dropped them an email. They replied thus:

        Thank you for your email. The reason you have not received anything is because you were already registered at xx xxxxxxxx xxxxx. When your internet registration came through, we simply merged this with your existing record.

        Given the widespread ambiguity, it was nice of them to proactively reassure voters of this, huh? It really did feel like our form submissions had gone into an Amazon powered black hole.

  20. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Not surprising

    I think this is a problem that's been brewing for years. How do you define and then establish identity?

    If I produce a birth certificate and claim to be the person named on it does it prove that I am? No, in fact the certificates specifically say that they are not a proof of identity?

    What about National Insurance Number? That is also not a proof of identity.

    Some businesses want a recent utility bill or bank statement to prove your identity; the utilities and banks want to go paperless. And such documents would be fairly easy to forge. I had a couple of gigs at one time, one with a real security printer where all waste had to be securely destroyed on site with records kept and the other printing utility bills where waste was overflowing from a skip in the car park.

    The identity card would have solved this wouldn't it? More likely it would have brought these problems to light a few years earlier.

    Lots of organisations want verified identity but want to throw the problem of verification over the wall for someone else to deal with.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 million odd you say...

    Looks like I might be in for a quiet 15+ hour day running a polling station on May 7th then!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5 million odd you say...

      "Looks like I might be in for a quiet 15+ hour day running a polling station on May 7th then!"

      My local polling station always has a quiet day ...or at least that is their stock reply to my stock query of how busy they have been. Even the political parties can't be bothered to post tellers outside the door nowadays.

  22. Red Bren

    North Korean Election imminent

    Kim Jong Un is so impressed, he's asked GDS to draw up the electoral roll for North Korea. "If I'd known it was this easy to rig an election, I would have done it years ago!" said wannabe dictator David Cameron.

  23. Adrian Bridgett

    Whilst I agree with most of this, no captcha is a good thing - they are quite easy to work around, and painful for humans. There _should_ be filtering and fraud detection being done on the backend, but without assisting the bad guys by giving them immediate feedback as to if they've been detected as a captcha would.

  24. John Lilburne Silver badge

    Cool ...

    ... at last I can get off the stupid thing.

  25. arrbee

    So if you (re-)register online, which electoral register do you end up on ?

    ( i.e. the one that is copied to anyone with a few hundred quid, or the other one )

    1. Mattjimf

      You get the option of not being on the "We're greedy buggers and want cash" one.

  26. JDX Gold badge

    How do I tell if I'm registered to vote?

    Slightly off-topic, but I have no idea. We get things in the post from time to time about local elections and they all blend into one in my memory. Can I check, easily, if I'm registered?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: How do I tell if I'm registered to vote?

      "Can I check, easily, if I'm registered?"

      No. You have to phone or visit the relevant department at your local council. From the article, commentards posts and experience, the online thing is only a web front end to the old fashioned manual process so you can't check online easily.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How do I tell if I'm registered to vote?

        This is exactly the case. The new law that created IER left responsibility for the electoral rolls with local authorities. It is legally impossible for Whitehall to perform voter registrations, so the GDS voter registration website is basically just a front-end that takes applications and sends them on to the relevant local authority.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irrelevant

    All parties are comprised of idiots, scumbags and b*stards anyway so doesn't particularly matter who gets in. Lets be honest, the entry requirements for being a member of parliament are extremely forgiving, more so than most jobs. No formal qualifications or aptitude tests required so it's natural that politics acts as a sink for the expensively-educated dross of society. Anyone with any sense or morals would not consider politics as a career. The chubby blazer-wearing eunuchs of Civil Serf middle management all stay the same anyway.

    You could solve high youth unemployment amongst those with little/no qualifications by re-drawing constituency boundaries to increase the number of MPs by a couple of hundred thousand.

    :D

    1. batfastad

      Re: Irrelevant

      I should follow up by adding that despite my attitude towards politics in this country and politicians in general, I will still toddle down to the ballot box and make the mark of the illiterate in a box on the form. I will get a warm feeling of enfranchisement in a happy utopia for all of about 30 seconds. Before stepping back out onto a street covered with vomit and chicken bones*.

      *Said in jest of course. I realise that by living in the UK I have truly won the lottery of life compared to the hell that most of the world's population have to get through. If I'm really lucky maybe there'll be a pigeon eating the chicken bone, that is a sight to behold!

    2. Dave Bell

      Re: Irrelevant

      The onlt party which seems to differ from your description is the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. I am, I admit, tempted.

  28. jason 7

    You don't need to vote anymore.

    Whichever shower of sh*t gets in, they still follow the establishment's agenda.

    Nothing changes.

    The only difference we could make with a vote is if we all decide to vote for anyone but the current incumbent. That would mean the end of Cameron/Milliband and all the other chinless career politicians who think they have the job for life.

    Would be a huge act of true democracy. Vote the whole lot of them out.

    1. Otto is a bear.

      Re: You don't need to vote anymore.

      Well daaa, the trick is to pick the establishment you want.

      1. dubno

        Re: You don't need to vote anymore.

        Trouble is that sometimes none of the parties are representative. ... What annoys me is those people that say " I don't vote for any party because they xxxxxxxxx"

        I am sorry but where I am from, people fought and died to have the right to vote and it disgusts me that in a country that also seeks to export its brand of democracy & values to other countries, that there is such indifference to voting.

        Voting should be mandatory but if you don't want to vote for any listed parties then the must be a "NONE OF THE ABOVE" option.

        That would send a clear message.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You don't need to vote anymore.

          "I am sorry but where I am from, people fought and died to have the right to vote and it disgusts me that in a country that also seeks to export its brand of democracy & values to other countries, that there is such indifference to voting.

          Voting should be mandatory but if you don't want to vote for any listed parties then the must be a "NONE OF THE ABOVE" option."

          Have an upvote. In France, we always have the option to vote blank, meaning "NONE OF THE ABOVE" in EVERY elections. I used it in 2002, second turn.

          Anon because votes are supposed to stay secret, here, and believe it or not, this is BY LAW.

        2. jason 7

          Re: You don't need to vote anymore.

          We could do that and vote for 'None of the Above' IF it was a valid selection on the voting paper.

          However, if you leave the slip blank or write something on it it is simply classed as a 'Spoiled paper'.

          Giving the inference that an idiot spat on it and should not be given any attention.

          They dare not give the 'None of the Above' option as it validates the disaffected and disenchanted.

          As for the old 'people fought to give you that right' I bet most of them would agree with not voting and be disgusted themselves with the result they gave their lives for.

          "Is that the best I gave my life for?? Shouldn't have bothered!"

  29. The Wegie

    Registering wasn't that much of a problem...

    But the data relating to my address was. The postcode was correct, but the house name and village were wrong, and there was no way of changing them.

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: Registering wasn't that much of a problem...

      The local village effectively has two names, one short and the other the full formal name.

      The Post Office has an address finder: enter the postcode and you get the short-name address.

      It looks, from the election mail I have received, that the electoral roll uses the long form, and the software used to resolve address differences just prints both forms of the placename.

      That's a minor enough problem, the mail will get through, but it leaves me wondered if the electoral roll is being maintained in accord with the responsibilities laid out in the Data Protection Acts. So what, I mutter, nobody seems to bother with that anyway.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Registering wasn't that much of a problem...

      "...but the house name and village were wrong, and there was no way of changing them."

      But at last, when they come for you, they'll be looking in the wrong place.

      So you can be whatever you want!

  30. Oldfogey

    Head of the household?

    A few years back, when the annual registration form arrived, I read the bit about the "head of the household" being prosecuted for not filling it in, and I wondered.

    So I rang the ELO, and said, there are two adults living here - if you don't get the form filled in, who will you prosecute?

    Er..... the owner of the house.

    Nope - in joint names.

    Er..... the one with the largest income?

    Nope - no income, living on savings at the moment. And they're in joint accounts.

    Er... I'll get back to you.

    He never did, of course, because it is not a definable term in the modern world, so can only be applied in a single person household.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Head of the household?

      "He never did, of course, because it is not a definable term in the modern world, so can only be applied in a single person household."

      I am the head of the household. My wife gave me permission to say that.

      1. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: Head of the household?

        Way back in the 60s some census bloke was trying to get the details of a hippie commune. Eventually he despairingly said "Well, who's the head of the household?". "Man, we're all heads!"

  31. HipposRule

    About as much of a shambles as...

    ... the El Reg formatting in Outlook 2013 on 365 (Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShamble)

  32. PeteA
    Facepalm

    And even better...

    When I attempted to use their system, I got to the end of the data capture process to be presented with the following (from Chrome):

    This webpage is not available

    Hide details

    A secure connection cannot be established because this site uses an unsupported protocol.

    Error code: ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH

    I guess the poodle's are still running free at Whitehall.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    So

    Could I as a voter sue the next Government because;;

    a) they didnt allow me to vote or count my vote

    b) with 5 million persons missing off the register the vote was comprimised and so invalid

    mines the one with the copy of How to Vote the Graveyard in its pocket

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would their interests, concerns or wishes be even considered by who ever "wins" the election? Of course not.

    Modern Western Democracies see the people, voters, and their interests something to be manipulated, managed, and ignored as much as possible.

    Which makes this story very easy to spin to meet political objectives, after all it suggests that at least some people are going to get to vote, and they will decide what the countries policies will be. And should the government do something wrong it will obviously be the fault of those who did vote. Win/Win for government, as long as someone votes and gives the system legitimacy.

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