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Electoral Register

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) which local authorities have initiated proceedings to fine households who have not submitted an electoral registration form in response to the annual canvass since the sanction was brought into force; (257465)

(2) when the sanctions in relation to voter non-registration will be brought into force; and if he will make a statement.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice), Under-Secretary of State for Justice explained in her answer on 24 June 2008, Official Report, column 244W, to a similar question relating to which local authorities have initiated proceedings to levy fines on households failing to return the canvass form, this information is not collected centrally. Electoral registration officers (EROs) have a duty to compile and maintain an accurate register and they have a number of mechanisms available to them in achieving this. It is a decision for independent EROs whether they initiate proceedings for non-completion of the annual canvass form.

Sanctions have recently been brought into force to create a new offence of supplying false information of any kind to a registration officer in connection with electoral registration. This sanction came into force in time for the 2006 annual canvass and anyone found guilty of supplying false information at registration can now be fined up to £5,000 or sentenced to up to six months imprisonment.