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Postal Voting

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what progress has been made by electoral registration officers and local authorities on improving registration rates for postal votes. (95120)

There is no duty on electoral registration officers or local authorities to increase the number of electors registered to vote by post.

Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 places a new duty on electoral registration officers to take certain steps to maximise the number of eligible people on the electoral register. That section came into force on 11 September 2006. However, it will be too early to assess what impact the new provision has had until 1 December at the earliest, when the new electoral registers are published following the current annual canvass exercise.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much funding has been allocated to each local authority to implement postal vote identifiers under the new postal vote legislation. (95121)

We have provisionally set aside a figure of £4.1 million for collection of additional personal identifiers from existing postal voters in local authorities in England and Wales. A further £5.5 million has been provisionally set aside to implement the checking of identifiers at elections in those areas.

These figures have been calculated on the basis of the estimated number of electors who will be registered for a postal vote following the current annual canvass, combined with costings for implementation provided by the Association of Electoral Administrators. However, final figures—including specific amounts to be paid to each local authority—will be calculated once the actual number of postal voters is determined following the conclusion of the current canvass period.