How people vote at elections is secret. Whether or not someone voted is, however, available in a document called the ‘marked register’. This is, as the name indicates a copy of the electoral register, marked up by electoral administrators to show when ballot papers were issued (for in-person voting) or returned (for postal voting).
Political parties can request copies of the marked register in paper format for polling stations and in either paper or data format for postal voters. (This distinction reflects how the marked register is originally created – literally by marking names off on paper in polling stations but using computer software for postal votes.)
There are three good reasons to get hold of the marked register and record its data in Connect after an election:
- It is a handy check if there are any claims of serious maladministration in the election. Rare but not unknown.
- It is also a useful reference source if there are claims of electoral fraud.
- Most relevantly, it helps target future activity to get supporters to vote – e.g. who might be worth prioritising for informing about how they can sign up to a postal vote?
There is a Connect Quick Sheet available from the usual places (e.g. the Facebook support group). It goes into more detail about how to enter marked register data into Connect and how to use it appropriately and legally.
The potential to make future activity more efficient thanks to the marked register data makes the effort of getting and using the data very worthwhile.