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Electoral Arrangements

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether her Department has initiated the procurement process to find providers of the e-voting pilots in the May 2007 local elections. (99626)

My Department is currently conducting a procurement exercise to establish a framework of suppliers which was initiated by notice to the Official Journal of the European Union on 1 August.

The framework will last until 2010 and be available to support local authority e-counting and e-voting pilots until that time.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of the presentation and handouts produced by her Department’s head of electoral policy for his talk to the International Centre of Excellence for Local e-Democracy’s conference in Budapest in July 2006. (99630)

My Department’s head of electoral policy attended the Budapest conference in July 2006 and participated in a debate entitled “Voting in our pyjamas—which channel is best?” This was a debate about the merits of different remote voting methods. He did not make a slide-based presentation or provide any handouts. However, I will place a copy of the notes that he used for his talk in the Library.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the percentage of individual identifiers on postal votes that must be verified against the original identifiers by returning officers during an election count. (99633)

The draft Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2006 require a minimum of 20 per cent. of the personal identifiers supplied with postal votes to be verified before the election count. A returning officer has discretion to check more than the minimum 20 per cent.

It is the responsibility of the Electoral Commission to issue guidance to returning officers. The Commission has advised that it intends to do so on the implementation of the Electoral Administration Act 2006. We understand that this guidance will include the Commission’s advice to returning officers on the checking of identifiers.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much funding the Government are providing to local authorities for local elections in 2007 to fund the new electoral arrangements introduced under the Electoral Administration Act 2006. (99634)

Funding being provided to local authorities in England and Wales for elections in 2007 is expected to be in the region of £34 million. The final figure will depend on the precise cost of the new postal voting identifier arrangements.