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Electoral Register and Postal Votes

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how much funding the Electoral Commission has provided for research into (a) under-registration and (b) postal vote fraud in each year since it was established. (257312)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold this information in the requested format. However it regularly conducts research into both registration and the security of postal voting. The following table sets out the costs of all public opinion research projects that have addressed these subjects.

UK

Financial year

Cost (£)

2001-02

60,000

2002-03

89,065

2003-04

346,332

2004-05

343,706

2005-06

229,933

2006-07

284,071

2007-08

278,459

2008-09

122,850

The Commission has also conducted research using electoral registers to review the extent of under-registration. Costs for this are as follows:

UK

Financial year

Cost (£)

2001-02

2002-03

39,405

2003-04

40,185

2004-05

146,064

2005-06

29,500

2006-07

95,704

2007-08

86,574

2008-09

69,818

In addition to expenditure on research, the Commission also works to identify and analyse the scale and frequency of postal voting malpractice, through monitoring electoral petitions and prosecutions for electoral offences and liaison with the police, prosecuting authorities, and electoral registration and returning officers.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how many meetings Electoral Commission officers have (a) initiated and (b) attended on (i) postal ballot fraud and (ii) electoral registration in each of the last five years. (257715)

The Commission does not hold this information in the requested format. However, it informs me that over the past five years, Commission staff initiated or attended a number of briefings, seminars and meetings involving electoral registration officers, electoral administrators, academics, political parties, the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, Government officials and elected representatives, at which postal ballot fraud and electoral registration were discussed.

The Commission further informs me that in 2007 it hosted 10 dedicated seminars covering electoral registration across England and Wales for electoral registration officers and administrators. It has also held four national and two regional seminars for Single Point of Contact (SPOC) police officers on reducing and preventing electoral fraud, including postal ballot fraud.