Skip to main content

Elections: Voter Registration

Volume 688: debated on Monday 22 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What powers electoral registration officers and returning officers now possess in the case of suspicions arising about the validity of voter registrations; in what circumstances they are advised to use such powers; and whether they can refuse to place such electors on the register until the checks have taken place to their satisfaction. [HL1266]

Electoral registration officers do not have to enter a person on the register until any checks they wish to conduct have been completed to their satisfaction. They have powers to request information from those applying for registration and to conduct a hearing of the application where they consider this necessary. They are not to enter a person on the register until the five-day period for making objections to the application to be registered has elapsed. The Electoral Administration Act 2006 clarified that objections to registration could be made not only to an application for registration, but to an existing entry in the register. The 2006 Act also conferred much broader powers on registration officers to review the entitlement to be registered of a person with an existing entry in the register. They can use this power, for example, if they are suspicious about someone's nationality or fraud. The 2006 Act also created a broader criminal offence of providing false information to registration officers in connection with electoral registration.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What advice they are giving to returning officers about the steps they should take and the procedures they should follow in the event of suspicions or objections arising over late applications to register as electors up to 11 days before polling day. [HL1267]

The Government are not intending to issue guidance on this point. Such guidance is usually issued by the Electoral Commission and we understand that it will be doing so as part of the wider guidance on the EA Act.