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Electoral Roll Fraud

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the extent to which (a) foreign nationals not from the Commonwealth or the Irish Republic, (b) failed asylum seekers and (c) illegal immigrants are fraudulently on the electoral roll in order to obtain consumer credit. (73986)

I have been asked to reply.

We do not hold information as to the reasons why persons may apply to be on the electoral register other than for the purposes of voting in elections. In respect of the numbers of those persons specified in the question who may be on the electoral register, I explained in my previous answer on 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 1045W, that this information is not collected. Electoral registers are available for public inspection and anyone who believes that an ineligible person has been included may notify the ERO who may then make further inquiries as to the eligibility of that individual. Currently, it is an offence to fail to supply information to the ERO and knowingly supply false information on the annual canvass form.

The Electoral Administration Bill strengthens the objection process and creates a new offence of supplying false information of any kind to an ERO, or failing to supply information, in connection with registration, at any time. The electoral register does not specify the immigration or asylum status of individuals entered on it; however, the addition of a “nationality” box in the registration form does provide an opportunity for EROs to determine the eligibility of an applicant for inclusion in the register on the basis of their stated nationality.