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Electoral Register

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he intends to pilot the use of individual electoral registration in (a) Peterborough city council and (b) any other English local authority in May 2008 or thereafter; and if he will make a statement. (178578)

The Representation of the People Act 2000 does not allow local authorities to pilot changes to registration. The legislation provides for three different types of pilot scheme: (a) when, where and how voting at the elections is to take place; (b) how the votes cast at the elections are to be counted; and (c) the sending by candidates of election communications free of charge for postage.

On 7 January, I confirmed in a response to a parliamentary question from the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) that there is no intention to undertake further electoral innovation pilot schemes in 2008.

The Government are committed to increasing registration rates. The Electoral Administration Act 2006 contained a number of measures to increase levels of electoral registration. These include:

Imposing a new duty on Electoral Registration Officers to take all necessary steps to ensure a comprehensive register;

Increasing the time available for registration by enabling people to register up to 11 days before the election; and

Introducing performance standards for Electoral Registration Officers. Electoral registration indicators were launched by the Electoral Commission during December 2007.

The Government are currently evaluating the effectiveness of these new measures.