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'Register to vote' searches surge in run up to election

Voting registration site sees 225% more visits

Web searches for 'registering to vote' have surged since the government announced the general election will take place on May 6, says Hitwise.

According to the web metrics firm there were nine times more searches for 'register to vote' during the week ending April 10 compared to the previous week.

Furthermore, 4,500 different distinct search terms containing the word 'vote' were used during the same week.

Hitwise also said that visits to About My Vote - the UK's primary voting registration website increased by 225 percent in the same week.

"Looking at the range of election-related search terms used by British internet users last week, it is clear that people are turning to the web for advice and information about the upcoming election," said Robin Goad, director of research at Experian Hitwise.

"In addition to voter registration related searches such as 'register to vote' and 'postal vote', people are also searching for voting advice. The terms 'vote match', 'vote for policies' and 'who should I vote for' were all extremely popular last week."

Last week, social network Facebook revealed it had joined forces with the Electoral Commission in a bid to get Brits voting.

Web users eligible to vote that logged on to the social network last weekend were asked to confirm they had registered and were be able to vote in the election.

If they selected No, they were then directed to a website where they could enter their details and subsequently print out a form to be posted to the electoral registration department of their local council, before April 20.

Alberto Nardelli, co-founder of Tweetminster, a service that monitors and tracks political activity on Twitter, said: "With political issues trending on Twitter regularly, and prominent pages on other social media sites representing the parties, it is difficult to miss the Election, so yes, I think the internet will encourage people to vote".

"The power of the internet is huge of course, and will no doubt be further harnessed as the race to Number 10 progresses."

See also: NASA hacker's mother stands for Parliament

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