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Electoral Registration

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the form set out in Part 1 of the Schedule to the Representation of the People (Form of Canvass) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006, (a) what are the details that have to be provided if the box labelled “All residents not entitled to vote due to their nationality” is ticked; (b) whether the space for providing those details is adequate; (c) whether the details that have to be provided include the names and nationality of the residents, and why that information is required; (d) why similar information is not required from persons who are not entitled to vote due to their nationality but are resident at an address where another resident is entitled to vote; and (e) whether that information will or may be made available to any person other than an electoral registration officer; if so, to whom; and for what purpose.[HL6566]

(a)/(c) The purpose of this box is to allow the electoral registration officer to be satisfied that the form has been completed correctly. For example, if the form is returned with this section reading “All residents are French”, the registration officer could return the form with an explanation that EU citizens are, in fact, entitled to vote in local and European elections. Although the exact details required in this section are not specified, there is no requirement for a person to provide the names of non-eligible people.

(b) We believe that the space provided should be adequate, although a person could use a separate sheet if they wished to do so. In addition, registration officers have some flexibility in how they use the form set in regulations and so could choose to make this box larger if they felt that this was necessary.

(d) The purpose of section 3 of the form is to ensure that a person may comply with their legal duty to respond to a request for information from a registration officer in circumstances in which no eligible electors are to be added to the form. For this reason, similar information is not required when at least one member of a household is entitled to register.

In previous years, the section did not include tick-boxes, but had the text, “No one eligible”: “If no one (including yourself) in your household should be included in part 2 above, please write ‘no one’ in part 2 above and give the reason”.

(e) In line with data protection principles, information provided will not be passed on to any other person or organisation.