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  1. ITV Report

One million register to vote in 48 hours - with 70% aged under-24

Young people have been a big factor behind the surge in registrations. Credit: PA

With the first December General Election in a century just weeks away, more than one million people registered to vote in just 48 hours.

While fears of a relatively low turnout on polling day due to winter weather remain, almost one million more people in total have registered for this year’s election compared to that two years ago, when 2,938,291 applications were made.

In the 48 hours to the deadline of 11.59pm on Tuesday, 1,026,109 people signed up to have their say, according to the voter registration website, with 723,974 under the age of 34.

Of those aged under-34, 402,554 were under-25, making up 40% of the total surge over the past two days.

This marked an increase from 2017, when 610,612 voters under-34 registered in the final two days, with 829,000 signing up in total.

The Electoral Commission told ITV News they welcomed the spike in applications from young people.

“It’s great to see so many voter registration applications ahead of next month’s General Election,” a spokesperson said.

“It is particularly significant to see the number of applications from people under the age of 25, one of the demographics least likely to be correctly registered.”

Youth voter turnout increased in 2017. Credit: ITV News Graphics

This year’s spike in registrations from younger voters is almost double that of the 2015 General Election, which saw 376,321 in the under-34 demographic.

Since the election was called on October 29 this year, a total of 3,850,859 people have registered to vote.

Dr Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society, said: “The rise in registrations ahead of yesterday’s deadline is highly encouraging, especially given the huge numbers of people missing from the electoral roll.

“We’ve seen a big increase in registrations since the election was called compared to 2017 which is more remarkable given the shorter time frame.

“We’ve seen huge numbers of young people signing up – a traditionally under-registered demographic.”

However, it is likely a significant number of registrations during this campaign are from people already on the electoral roll.

These duplicate registrations can make the number of new voters appear higher than it is in reality.

For example, some of those included in this number could be people registering to vote at a new address, rather than just people who have never voted before.

For the 2016 EU referendum, for example, the Electoral Commission reported 38% of applications made during that campaign were duplicates.

Dr Garland called for a “registration revolution” to ensure the population does not miss out on a vote.

“For too long certain groups of voters have been missing from the register and as a result not had their voices heard at election time,” she said.

“We urgently need to update our archaic registration system to bring in the missing millions.

“Britain needs a registration revolution, to ensure the right to vote isn’t a lottery but is something secured for all.”