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European Parliamentary Elections

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

7. What plans the Electoral Commission has to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the arrangements made in the UK for the June 2009 elections to the European Parliament. (280577)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it plans to publish its statutory report on the administration of 2009 European parliamentary elections in October this year.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I welcome him to his new responsibilities, as does my hon. Friend the Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath), who spoke earlier.

Will the hon. Gentleman pass on to the Commission a specific request that two matters be looked at? First, did the facility work for people who are European Union citizens and are allowed to vote here but have to fill in a form to make it clear that they are going to use their vote only in this country rather than in their country of origin, and how many people used it and so on? The second matter is how accessible the venues for voting are generally. I still take the view that they are often in hidden-away places that long-standing locals might know, not places where most of the public go in the course of their daily business.

The Electoral Commission is extremely keen to increase voter turnout at all elections, and the hon. Gentleman’s point will certainly be taken into account. The commission would like me to inform hon. Members that it is keen to hear from many sources about the conduct of the elections that have just taken place, including Members of Parliament. If anyone has particular representations to make, they will be warmly received by the Electoral Commission, and I will certainly ensure that his comments are passed on to it.