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Electoral Register

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to bring forward proposals for automatic voter registration to tackle under-representation by minority groups; and if he will make a statement. (176396)

The Government want to ensure that every eligible elector is presented with the opportunity to register to vote through a simple and convenient registration process. However, at present the Government have no plans to introduce automatic electoral registration.

The franchise arrangements for elections in the UK vary by nationality. In practice, electoral registration officers would not be able to identify an individual's entitlement to vote in each type of election when they come into contact with the local authority because they would also require details of that person's age and nationality to ensure their franchise rights were correctly established. Current legislation also requires an elector to provide a signature when completing the annual canvass form or a rolling registration form. This is an important security requirement.

The Government want to protect the rights of every eligible person to participate in the UK's democratic process by ensuring complete, accurate and secure electoral registration. The Government continue to monitor electoral registration in the UK to ensure that this is being achieved.