Two million register to vote in Britain

Two million register to vote in Britain
Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage talks with a voter.

LONDON - More than two million people have registered to vote in the last month in Britain's tightly-contested general election, official figures showed, with the window closing at midnight (2300 GMT) Monday.

Of the 2.08 million people who registered between March 16 and Sunday, 1.9 million did so online, with the rest registering on paper, the Electoral Commission said.

Among those who registered online, 570,000 were aged 16 to 24. Teenagers can register to vote from the age of 16, but they can only cast their ballots at 18.

The Electoral Commission, an independent body which oversees and monitors elections, has hit social networks with advertising campaigns aimed at convincing people to register.

"This is your last chance to register to vote if you want to make your voice heard on May 7," Electoral Commission chairwoman Jenny Watson said.

"It takes just a few minutes to apply to register online, so do it now.

"We don't want anyone to miss out, but if you miss the deadline on April 20 and then try to vote you will be turned away from the polling station on election day. Make sure this doesn't happen to you." The number of parliamentary voters in 2014 was 45,325,100, down by 1.8 per cent from 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The abstention rate among registered voters in Britain is relatively high - 38 per cent in the 2005 general election and 35 per cent in 2010.

Research also suggests there may be as many as 7.5 million further unregistered voters, or voters who were incorrectly registered, such as those still listed under an old address.

Commonwealth and Irish citizens living in Britain can vote, as well as British citizens around the globe. People in jail are excluded.

Voters in Northern Ireland need to bring photo identification to the polls; those in the rest of Britain need just to provide a name and address that matches the electoral roll.

Voters can also apply to vote by post or have a proxy do it for them.

Opinion polls show the May 7 election is heading towards a hung parliament.

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