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Electoral Register

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the demographic profile of those people who are most likely not to be registered to vote; what the conclusions were of such research; and if he will make a statement. (211914)

The Government have not commissioned or evaluated any specific research on the demographic profile of people who are most likely not to be registered to vote. However, the Government did utilise some existing research in 2005 as a basis for further work towards identifying an evidence base for policy development and service targets.

The Electoral Commission found in their report, ‘Understanding Electoral Registration’, published in September 2005 that the most likely electors not to be registered to vote included young people, those residing in private rented accommodation and those belonging to certain minority ethnic groups.

Information arising out of the evidence base and the Electoral Commission's report were used to mount a registration campaign in London for 18 to 24-year-olds and to inform work on registration, which fed into various measures in the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which organisations have made representations to his Department in favour of introducing individual electoral registration. (213545)

A number of organisations including the Electoral Commission, the Association of Electoral Administrators, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) have all made representations to the Ministry of Justice in favour of introducing individual registration. In addition, the Committee on Standards in Public Life recommended that the Government move towards a system of individual registration in Great Britain in its report of January 2007.

The Government are committed to the principle of individual registration. But this will be a far-reaching reform, and it will need to be undertaken with great care—both to make sure a new system is robust, and to ensure that it properly tackles the problem of under-registration in Great Britain.