The Home Office set out the possible role of the National Identity Register and the National Identity Scheme in relation to electoral registration and voting in its evidence to the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs and ODPM: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committees published by the Committees on 16 March 2005.
Identity cards cannot become compulsory without further primary legislation. Unless, and until, that occurs, the National Identity Register (NIR) could not replace the existing electoral registration process where an annual canvass is used to establish electoral registers.
Any future proposal to use the NIR to replace the existing electoral registration process would need detailed exploration with the Home Office, and with stakeholders, including electoral registration officers and political parties.
While the NIR could have a role in improving the quality of the information held on the electoral register and could potentially support the electoral registration process if and when identity cards become mandatory, separate registers could still be required as there are likely to be individuals, such as citizens residing overseas, who may be entitled to vote but may not be on the NIR.