Young Britons in the dark about the role of the Electoral Roll

One in three 18 to 24-year-olds not registered to vote with many unaware of the impact on everything from mortgages and identity protection to passport applications

Political detachment among Britain’s young people could not only see millions missing out on having their say in the general election this year, but also hamper their financial wellbeing, leave them vulnerable to identity fraud and even hinder them getting passports.

New research from global information services company, Experian, reveals one in three young Britons (aged 18-24) is not registered on the Electoral Roll, a situation that could have implications well beyond the ballot box. Among those who are on the Electoral Roll, a fifth admit that they were registered by someone else, such as a family member or their university.  This comes as analysis of the latest voter registration numbers revealed a 47 per cent fall in the number of young people registering on the Electoral Roll.

And electoral indifference appears not to be limited to the nation’s youngsters.  One in three people (31%) claim that they do not vote and this is their main reason for not registering on the Electoral Roll.

This latest research from Experian reveals that many Britons are in the dark about exactly how much not registering to vote can affect them.  Banks, financial institutions, government bodies and other organisations use the Electoral Roll as a crucial tool to help verify people’s identities, and whether someone is registered can be a key consideration for lenders when deciding whether to grant credit. In addition, many online services, such as retail websites also use the Electoral Roll to help check people’s name and address. Yet:

  • 53% do not know that not being registered at their current address could negatively impact their credit rating;
  • 59% are unaware that it could help protect them from fraud and identity theft;
  • 62% do not know that it could hinder their access to online services;
  • A quarter (24%) do not see why they should register.

Commenting on the research, Julie Doleman, managing director, Experian Consumer UK&I, said: “While not being registered on the Electoral Roll has the obvious impact of taking away your access to the ballot box, it could also affect your ability to get access to credit you can afford. This is because the Electoral Roll is often a factor in credit scores and a way for lenders to verify your identity. So even if you have an excellent history of managing credit, not being registered on the Electoral Roll could, in some cases, lead to you being refused credit. Registering is extremely simple and we encourage everyone to take five minutes to do this to make sure they’re not missing out. You can register online any time at, or though the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.”

About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.  In 2014, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.

We employ approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit or watch our documentary, ‘Inside Experian’.