The government has begun allowing UK citizens (and UK residents from qualifying EU or Commonwealth countries), to register to vote online. Claiming to take just 5 minutes through the government’s new GOV.UK site, the process will only require a valid national insurance number or passport if you have moved abroad. The online electoral registration became available in England and Wales on the 10th June 2014, with Scotland soon to follow on the 19th of September.
The new online registration service is part of a wider Individual Electoral Registration (IER) movement announced in 2009. In a push for greater political engagement, the new system offers better protection against electoral fraud and a more convenient way for citizens to register to vote. The IER is the most significant change to electoral registration for many years. The changes require each person in a household to register individually, rather than the preceding single household registration system.
Previously, UK residents would receive their registration form in the post, the ‘head of the household’ would then check each member of the household that was entitled to vote, sign and send the form back to their local electoral registration office where it would be filed. The paper-based service will continue to run concurrently with the new online system but the government is hoping less than a quarter of voters will persist.
Letters will be sent to all individuals on the Electoral Register in July 2014 as a notification of the change. Most people that are currently on the Electoral Register will be registered automatically under the new system, with no further action required. However some electors will not, and will need to take action to be included on the new register. Following the Cabinet Offices' "dry run" from last September, preliminary results reveal around 78% will not have to take any action to remain on the register.
You can register to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote