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Fraud: Elections

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if the Government will introduce the Northern Ireland system of individual electoral registration in Great Britain to tackle postal vote fraud. (176524)

The Government agree with the principle of individual registration but is not yet convinced that it could be implemented in Great Britain (GB) without causing a significant number of eligible electors to fall off the register. Individual registration was introduced in NI in response to specific concerns about the integrity of the electoral register. Any new system of electoral registration in GB would need to be tailored to current circumstances, and in particular would need to address the challenge of under registration in GB, where an estimated 3.5 million eligible electors are not registered to vote.

The Government have taken extensive steps to tackle postal voting fraud. In the Electoral Administration Act 2006 the Government introduced a number of new measures to tackle postal voting fraud. These include:

Creating a new offence of falsely applying for a postal vote;

Requiring postal voters to provide their signature and date of birth, both when they apply for a postal vote and when they return their postal vote at an election; and

Imposing a duty on the Electoral Registration Officer to ensure electoral registers are accurate and comprehensive.