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Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps she is taking to increase (a) voter registration and (b) electoral turnout in areas of deprivation. (83665)

The Government have embarked on a number of initiatives to promote participation in democracy. It does not directly promote voter turnout in elections; that is the role of political parties, the candidates and the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Administration Bill makes a number of changes to improve the registration process. These include a new duty setting out the minimum steps that the electoral registration officer will be expected to take to ensure a comprehensive register and enabling people to register after an election has been called. The Bill also provides a new power for returning officers to promote participation at elections, and the Government have made available £2.5 million to support the new power.