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Electoral Register

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what action he is taking to tackle the problem of citizens disappearing from the electoral register; and what assistance he gives local authorities. [131423]

The Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 introduced in February 2001 a number of changes to voter registration procedures, including 'rolling registration', aimed both at making it easier to register to vote and at achieving more accurate and up to date electoral registers. The independent Electoral Commission is to undertake research into the effects of the changes to registration procedures in order to identify the extent of under registration, which the Government will consider carefully. The Electoral Commission is responsible for offering advice and guidance to electoral registration

officers on these and other matters and will continue to encourage registration through various promotional activities.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what obligations local authorities have to ensure UK citizens remain on the electoral register. [131424]

Electoral Registration Officers, appointed by local authorities, are required to compile and maintain accurate electoral registers. They must register all eligible persons and have powers to seek information from any person who they consider is eligible to be registered. It is an offence for any person to fail to comply with a request for information from, or to give false information to, an Electoral Registration Officer.