Earlier this month Harrow Council caught the headlines for its new electoral registration system:
Harrow Council has become the first local authority in the country to take its electoral registration online.
As authorities across the country contact residents to ensure their details are added to the electoral register, Harrow will be asking people to respond to the annual canvass online.
This is not quite as novel as it may sound, because for several years other councils have already being using electronic ways of people confirming that their existing register details are correct and should be rolled over onto the new register.
Harrow is going one step further than this and its success will depend on three factors: how good the checks in the system are against someone sat at a computer creating numerous bogus entries (the plan to post out security codes does not necessarily protect against this as paperwork can be intercepted, as has happened in cases of postal voting fraud); how good the audit trail is of who did what and when so that suspicions can be properly investigated; and the extent to which this is seen as a way of improving registration levels or of cutting budgets.
On the first two points, it is promising that the details of the scheme involve an extra level of security for people who want to change their details rather than simply confirm an existing register entry.