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Electoral Roll Status

Volume 582: debated on Thursday 12 June 2014

4. If the commission will establish a process whereby every time a voter comes into contact with a public agency their electoral roll status is confirmed and non-registrants are encouraged to apply. (904162)

It would be for the Government, not the Electoral Commission, to establish such a process. My hon. Friend may wish to raise the issue with the Cabinet Office directly, and probably already has. Although there will undoubtedly be practical and cost implications that the Government will need to consider carefully, the commission can see the benefits of involving public agencies in encouraging electoral registration applications. The commission will discuss this further with the Cabinet Office as the transition to individual electoral registration continues.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. I am just a humble Back Bencher and my voice does not go very far in the Cabinet Office, but his considerable gravitas and that of the Electoral Commission would carry far more weight than my opinion. I welcome the Electoral Commission’s tentative endorsement of the proposal and urge it to meet the Cabinet Office urgently to see how it might be advanced.

I too am exceedingly humble but I certainly take my hon. Friend’s point. The Electoral Commission thinks there is merit in the scheme, although there are practical obstacles. For example, it would be necessary for every public servant at the point of contact with a member of the public to have access to the electoral register there and then to be able to give specific advice. The scheme is well worth considering as we all want to see as many people as possible entered on the public register.