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Electoral Commission Committee

Volume 554: debated on Thursday 6 December 2012

I would not want the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) to feel socially excluded, so we will hear from her.

The hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission was asked—

Individual Electoral Registration

9. What steps the Electoral Commission is taking to prepare for the introduction of individual electoral registration. (131765)

The Electoral Commission has supported the introduction of individual electoral registration since 2003. It is taking a number of steps to prepare for this important chance. Subject to the successful passage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, the commission will be responsible for developing guidance and setting performance standards for electoral registration officers, conducting research into the equity and completeness of the electoral registers and planning national public awareness campaigns to support the transition.

Given the admission by Republican Senators and officials in the US that their election law changes were designed to suppress minority and Democrat votes, how can we be sure that individual registration in Britain does not have the same effect?

The hon. Lady raises an important point. We all want to increase the number of people who register to vote in elections. I remind her that this measure was introduced by her own party when in government. The Electoral Commission is confident that if the Government follow its advice there is no reason at all why the number of electors registered for the 2015 general election should not be at a very high level.