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Freedom of Information

Volume 690: debated on Wednesday 21 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the answer by Lord Evans of Temple Guiting on 7 March (GC 46–7) in the debate on the draft Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2007, whether the voting records of individuals could be disclosed at a future date under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and, if so, at what interval after the event. [HL2587]

The record of whether an individual has voted is publicly available. The marked register of those who have voted is available for inspection at the relevant sheriff court.

The record of how an individual has voted is not publicly available, as their ballot paper is sealed up after the poll is complete, sent to the sheriff court, and may be unsealed only by order of a court, in the event of an election petition or investigation of an electoral offence.

Sheriff courts are not a Scottish public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and are not required to release information under the provisions of that Act.

The marked register and ballot papers, along with other electoral documents retained by the sheriff clerk after an election, are destroyed after a year, unless otherwise directed by an order of the Court of Session.