Plans to reform the voter registration system have been branded a “disaster waiting to happen” by a councillor.
Labour borough councillor Colin Challen warned the looming implementation of Individual Electoral Registration could have a devastating impact on voter turnout with only around one in five voters turning out in some areas at the county council elections.
The new system, due in place by 2014, is designed to be a quicker, easier and more convenient way to register than the current system but concerns have been raised over its security, and its estimated it will cause the number of registered voters to tumble dramatically.
Coun Brian Simpson said it was the biggest change to voting since for decades.
He added: “Naturally the change requires careful planning and implementation, and needs to be done in a way that puts the voter first whilst maximising the accuracy and completeness of the electoral register.”