New electoral systems could cost Kirklees’ politicians votes.

The number of people registered to vote has fallen by more than 1,200 in Kirklees in just one year following the introduction of anti-fraud measures.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 300,519 electors in the area in December 2014 - but only 299,300 in December 2015, a fall of 1,219.

The drop-off follows the change to a new system of registering to vote called Individual Electoral Registration.

Kirklees Council said the latest figures showed numbers had risen again to almost 302,000.

Critics have blamed the falls on the Government’s decision to accelerate the change by 12 months for leaving huge numbers of people in limbo with important votes just a few months away.

Under the former system, one person in a household returned a registration form on behalf of all registered voters at that address.

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Under the new system - introduced in summer 2014 in England and Wales - individuals have more control over their registration.

Electoral officers have to make more checks verifying the identity of every voter at an address before allowing them to vote.

The UK as a whole also saw a drop-off in the number of eligible voters this year, down 623,438 to 46.2m – a fall of 1%.

The new rules mean hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of missing out on a voting in Kirklees Council elections in May and the EU referendum in June.

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “Kirklees Council continually encourages electoral registration and work closely with schools, colleges, students unions, apprentices, the National Citizenship Service and a range of voluntary organisations to increase the number of people registered.

“We also delivered a number of activities designed to raise awareness and encourage voter registration throughout National Voter Registration Drive in early February.

Local election count, Cathedral House, Huddersfield.

“Whilst there was a drop in the electorate following the national changes to the registration system, we have seen numbers gradually increase.

“There are, as of the 25 February 2016, 301,840 people in Kirklees are registered to vote.

“Anyone who wants to vote in the Local Council elections or the Police and Crime Commissioner elections which are taking place this May, or have their say in the EU referendum in June will need to be registered.

“Anyone who wants to check if they are on the Electoral Register can contact Electoral Services on 01484 221650. Anyone who hasn’t registered can register online at or by calling 01484 221650.”

Labour and the Liberal Democrats MPs have accused ministers of deliberate attempts to skew the political battleground in their favour.

The Electoral Commission cautioned the Government against speeding through the switch but it was ignored.

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Electoral Reform chief executive Katie Ghose said the slump in registered voters “shows the danger” of the speeded-up process and called for an awareness drive and a “registration revolution” including the ability to sign up on polling day itself.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Tom Brake said:”There were already millions of people who were not on the register before this move - this has just made that problem worse. “Individual Electoral Registration is a system worth moving to, but it shouldn’t have been rushed and the Government should have followed Electoral Commission advice.

“It is another example of the Tories trying to stitch up the system in their favour.”