This page contains some of our statements and responses.
24 April 2013: Stakeholder survey
Woodnewton Associates conducted a stakeholder survey on our behalf between October 2012 and February 2013.
The survey aimed to collect, collate and examine the views of key groups of stakeholders. The specific objectives of the survey were to provide us with a greater understanding of:
- how we are currently viewed by various stakeholders and how their perceptions have changed over time
- the extent to which various groups of stakeholders understand our role
- how effective they believe us to be
- what would make us more effective
4 March 2013: Written submission on Draft Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
We have provided a written submission to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee as part of their inquiry into the Draft Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.
We also provided oral evidence to the Committee on 6 March 2013.
1 February 2013: Briefings on the Draft Control of Donations and Loans (Extension of the Prescribed Period) (Northern Ireland) 2013
We have issued a briefing on the Draft Control of Donations and Loans (Extension of the Prescribed Period) (Northern Ireland) 2013 due to be debated by the Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee on Wednesday 6 February:
We also issued a briefing on ahead of Grand Committee consideration of the Draft Control, which took place on Wednesday 29 January.
29 October 2012: Our briefing on the Draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Welsh Forms) Order 2012
We have issued a briefing on the Draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Welsh Forms) Order 2012 which is due to be considered in the UK Parliament on Monday 29 October.
1 October 2012: Response to the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice on the draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Welsh Forms) Order
We have written to Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, setting out our views on the draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Welsh Forms) Order.
28 September 2012: Our letter to OfCom on draft PCC broadcast guidance
We have written to OfCom to share our views on their draft guidance for broadcast coverage of the PCC elections.
We are broadly happy with the guidance, which takes into account the political context in which the elections are taking place, but have raised concerns about a provision that could lead to broadcasters making value-judgments about what constitutes a 'serious candidate'.
11 September 2012: Briefing on Police and Crime Commissioner elections
We have issued a briefing setting out the steps that need to be taken to ensure the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are well run, and outlining the areas that we will be reporting on.
12 July 2012: Our recommendations for the timing of election counts
Following consultation with Returning Officers, politicians, broadcasters and others with an interest in the issue we have made recommendations for the timing of election counts at different types of elections.
9 July 2012: Briefing to Peers on draft legislation for PCC elections
We have issued a briefing on the Draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Functions of Returning Officers) Regulations 2012 and the draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections Order 2012 ahead of its debate in Grand Committee in the House of Lords on Thursday 12 July.
This briefing note has been produced to provide information to Peers participating in the debate.
- Read our briefing on the draft PCC Elections Regulations 2012 and the draft PCC Elections Order 2012 (PDF)
25 June 2012: Briefing on draft secondary legislation for PCC elections
We have issued a briefing on the Draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Functions of Returning Officers) Regulations 2012 and the draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections Order 2012 ahead of its debate by the Secondary Delegated Legislation Committee on Tuesday 26 June.
This briefing note has been produced to provide information to Committee members participating in the debate.
30 April 2012: Letter to Minister on electoral fraud allegations
We have written to the Minister for Housing and Local Government today to reiterate that allegations of electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets are being taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.
27 April 2012: Briefing on electoral fraud
A number of allegations have been made about electoral fraud and malpractice in Tower Hamlets. There have also been some concerns over postal voting.
23 April 2012: Adjournment debate on Police and Crime Commissioner elections
We have issued a briefing to MPs this afternoon ahead of the adjournment debate on Police and Crime Commissioner elections due to be held on Wednesday 25 April.
15 March 2012: Response to consultation on PCC elections
We have issued a briefing to key stakeholders following publication of our response to the UK Government's consultation on the secondary legislation for Police and Crime Commissioner elections. The briefing sets out two significant areas of continuing concern.
- Giving voters the information they need
- Making sure that the elections are properly run
Without clear processes and rules in place in sufficient time, trust and confidence in the system may be called into question not only by those who stand for election but also by the voters.
31 January 2012: Draft Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (Council Tax Increases) (England) Regulations 2012
We have issued a briefing paper to members of the Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee in the House of Commons in advance of their consideration of the Draft Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (Council Tax Increases) (England) Regulations 2012 on Thursday 2 February.
1 December 2011: Issues paper on the timing of election counts
The timing of counts is a significant issue for those involved in elections. We believe it is time to consider whether there needs to be a change in the way decisions on the timing of counts are made - in order to deliver benefits for voters, candidates standing in elections and those responsible for delivering elections.
We have published this paper to seek views on whether changes are needed. We would welcome any views you may have before 3 February 2012. If necessary, we will then make recommendations on any changes we feel are required, which we expect to publish by mid-March 2012. If you would like to submit your views please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
9 November 2011: Letter to stakeholders on the Law Commission Review of Electoral Administration Law
The Law Commission has agreed to include a review of Electoral Law in their 11th programme. We have long argued that electoral registration needs modernisation and reform, in order to make it simpler, more consistent and more coherent and we are delighted that the Law Commission has chosen to accept our suggestion for this review.
We have set out our preliminary views on the scope of the review in a letter to key stakeholders.
2 November 2011: Statement on the Scottish referendum
Following recent speculation over the Electoral Commission's role in, and views on, a Scottish referendum, John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, has set out our position. Speaking at the Scottish Affairs Committee at the UK Parliament this afternoon John McCormick said:
"The nature and scope of any referendum is a constitutional issue for governments and parliaments to decide. Whether or not there is a referendum, who runs it and who votes are all fundamental constitutional questions. Our priority is simply to ensure that the referendum is well run.
"We believe it is important that the plans for any referendum are considered carefully and fully, so we do not intend to comment on speculation about the conduct of any proposed referendum until there are specific proposals to respond to. Regardless of whether we have a role in a Scottish independence referendum, when proposals are brought forward we will be ready to use our recent experience of running referendums to offer advice to ensure it is well run for voters."
For further information about the principles we believe should underpin the running of any referendum please visit our referendums page.
20 October 2011: Response to calls to investigate the BNP following 'Panorama' allegations
Following the BBC Panorama programme 'BNP - The Fraud Exposed' (broadcast 10 October 2011) we have received several thousand emails, mainly from 'Hope Not Hate' supporters, asking us to investigate the BNP. While the programme contained numerous allegations relating to the BNP, including some possible breaches of electoral law, Panorama are yet to provide evidence of any breach to the Electoral Commission.
We wrote to BBC Panorama in the week before the programme was broadcast, to ask for any evidence they have that suggests that the BNP was in breach of the law. We watched the programme when it was aired and since the broadcast have written again to the BBC requesting they provide us with any evidence they hold which indicates a potential breach of electoral law. To date, we have not received any such evidence from the BBC. If and when we do, we will consider it in line with our enforcement policy.
18 October 2011: Statement regarding allegation about Dr Liam Fox MP
Following the publication of correspondence from The Electoral Commission to Dr Liam Fox MP regarding an allegation of unreported donations the Commission has issued the following statement:
The law recognises the importance of transparency for political donations, whether to political parties or to individuals. That is why the House of Commons Register of Members Financial Interests and the Commission separately publish details of donations to MPs, regulated donees and political parties. There are rules on reporting donations and on who can make a political donation, and sanctions for breaches of the rules.
We considered correspondence regarding Dr Liam Fox and potential breaches of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act (PPERA) 2000.
To date we have not seen information in correspondence or in media reports to suggest a possible breach of the PPERA rules for which we have a responsibility. We have written to the complainant and Dr Fox to inform them of that.
We are actively monitoring the situation and if evidence emerges that warrants further assessment we will consider it.
10 October 2011: Statement ahead of the broadcast of Panorama programme 'BNP: The Fraud Exposed'
We are aware that Panorama will be broadcasting a programme tonight (10 October) regarding the BNP and potential breaches of reporting requirements. We wrote to Panorama last week asking for any evidence they have that suggests a breach of the law, but have not yet received this. If there is new evidence of a potential breach of the law, or an allegation is made, we will consider it in line with our enforcement policy.
29 September 2011: Our position on Individual Electoral Registration
Following recent reporting on the proposals to introduce Individual Electoral Registration (IER) we have issued the following statement to clarify our position:
'We support the introduction of IER as an important improvement in how people register to vote. It was initially proposed by the previous government and we are pleased that the current government has produced a White Paper on its introduction. We welcome the current debate on the issue and the opportunity for pre-legislative scrutiny to ensure IER is introduced in the best way possible.
'We believe IER can be introduced in a way to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the electoral register is improved. We have however highlighted to Government and Parliament our concern that if the opt-out from registration currently proposed is introduced registration could drop towards election turn-out levels.'
22 September 2011: Our response to the Welsh Language Board's report on the Electoral Commission's Welsh Language Scheme
The Welsh Language Board has published a report on the Electoral Commission's Welsh Language Scheme. In response to the report, we would like to state that we are fully committed to providing a comprehensive bilingual service in Wales.
- Darllenwch yn Gymraeg
- Read our full response here (English) (PDF)
- Read the full report here (English) (PDF)
8 September 2011: Cost of the PVS referendum
Our Chief Executive, Peter Wardle, wrote to Lord Grocott, in response to a Parliamentary Question, on the total cost incurred by the Commission for the referendum on the UK Parliamentary voting system.
9 August 2011: Visits to online guidance pages for candidates seeking election to the National Assembly for Wales
A request for information was made on 29 July 2011, relating to the ability of the Electoral Commission to register the number of visits made to the online guidance pages for candidates seeking election to the National Assembly for Wales on 5 May 2011.
The requestor also asked for specific information on the use of our Welsh language website during this time and asked for additional detail relating to user statistics for 24 March 2011.
The Commission has provided a detailed response to this request and, to ensure full transparency, a redacted copy of the information provided is available below.
No further information will be provided at this time, other than what is contained within this correspondence.
8 June 2011: Question on a Scottish referendum
Given recent media interest in how many referendums would be needed on Scottish independence, the Electoral Commission has clarified its position. Andy O'Neill, Head of the Commission's Scotland Office, said:
The number and scope of referendums needed on Scottish independence is a constitutional issue for governments and parliaments to decide. The Commission therefore takes no view on whether one referendum or two would be required."
11 April 2011: Reassurance for postal voters
In response to some misleading media reports, the Electoral Commission would like to reassure people planning to vote by post in polls taking place on the 5 May.
Andrew Scallan, Director of Electoral Administration at the Electoral Commission, said:
"Voters wanting to vote by post can be reassured that the rules mean their vote is secret. Only staff working for the local returning officer will handle returned postal votes.
"As is the case in elections, any registered campaigners in the referendum are allowed to see who has applied to vote by post or proxy, ahead of the poll if they apply to the Electoral Registration Officer. They are also allowed to attend postal vote openings and counts. Everyone who attends such events is bound by secrecy laws.
"There are also contractual and legal confidentiality requirements that anyone who supplies local returning officers with ballot papers, postal voting packs or IT support must comply with."
25 February 2011: response to Cabinet Office consultation on secondary legislation for data-matching pilots
We wrote to the Cabinet Office in February in response to their consultation on the Electoral Registration Data Schemes Order 2011 and the Representation of the People (Electoral Registration Data Schemes) Regulations 2011. These Statutory Instruments describe how and where the first tranche of data-matching pilots will operate.
2 February 2011: Timing of Scottish Parliament counts for 5 May poll
Following recent speculation regarding the timing of Scottish Parliament counts in May we would like to restate our position on this issue.
We have made clear that it is important people know who will represent them in the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible after the close of poll, and for voters and political parties to be confident that the results are accurate. That is why Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission and Chief Counting Officer for the proposed UK referendum, has already directed that the counting of votes in the referendum will not begin until 4pm on Friday 6 May. This will ensure Returning Officers can devote their resources to counting Scottish Parliamentary votes first.
Returning Officers must make their own decision about whether to start counting Scottish Parliamentary election ballots on the evening of 5 May or the following morning, but that decision should not be affected by the timing of the count for the proposed UK referendum.
There is no suggestion from Returning Officers that the Scottish Parliamentary results will not be declared until the Saturday and we do not expect that to happen.
The Chief Counting Officer's decision on the timing of the count for the proposed UK referendum was announced on 16 December.
- View the Chief Counting Officer's decision on the timing of the count for the proposed UK referendum
19 January 2011: Letter to Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform regarding the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill
Our Chair, Jenny Watson, wrote to Mark Harper MP setting out the key dates and milestones that must be met between Royal Assent to polling day to meet the timetable set out in legislation, if the referendum on the UK Parliamentary voting system is to be held on 5 May 2011.
11 November 2010: Preparedness for 5 May poll
In July 2010, the UK Government proposed holding a referendum on voting reform on 5 May 2011, the same day as scheduled elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and some parts of England. At the time, we published a statement setting out a number of practical risks that would need to be addressed to ensure the smooth running of the polls.
We have now set out how preparations are progressing, as of November 2010; six months before the polls are planned to take place.
26 October 2010: Our recommendation on the allocation of the additional MEP awarded to the UK under the Treaty of Lisbon
We have made our recommendation to the UK Government that the extra European Parliament seat allocated to the UK under the Treaty of Lisbon should go to the West Midlands region.
The UK Government directed the Commission in September 2010 to recommend which of the UK's 12 electoral regions to allocate the seat to, based on criteria laid down in legislation. Our recommendation, if implemented, would mean the West Midlands is represented by seven MEPs.
Our report on the recommendation has been laid before Parliament by the UK Government under Section 3(5) of the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003. A written Ministerial Statement has been made on the matter. The UK Parliament will now make the final decision on whether to accept these proposals.
18 October 2010: Timing of the count on 5 May 2011
Our Chair, Jenny Watson, wrote to Angus MacNeil MP on the order of the count for the proposed referendum on the UK Parliamentary voting system.
20 September 2010: Consultation response on elected Police and Crime Commissioner
We have published our response to the Home Office consultation on directly electing a Police and Crime Commissioner for each Police Force in England and Wales (excluding London). We have offered to assist the Government in producing legislation and guidance in order to effectively run these elections, and have suggested that the Government form a cross-department working group to coordinate election and referendum issues.
15 September 2010: Statement on individual electoral registration
We're pleased that planning for the introduction of individual electoral registration is underway. We have set out the principles we consider to be important for the introduction of individual registration and we will continue to monitor these and make clear if we think they are not being followed.
These principles are:
- The system should not prevent anyone who is eligible to take part in elections in Great Britain from registering to vote.
- The system should ensure that anyone who is not eligible to vote is not included in an electoral register.
- These changes to the system should be easily explained to, and understood by, electors.
- The system should ensure that all personal data is properly managed and protected.
- The system should be capable of being implemented efficiently and without a detrimental impact on the existing duties and responsibilities of Electoral Registration Officers.
We are also pleased to see progress being made in trialling data matching to help identify those missing from the electoral register that should be on it.
We will be studying the plans carefully to make sure they are implemented in a way that ensures the electoral register is as complete and accurate as possible and set out our views to Parliament before any legislative changes are made.
10 September 2010: Consultation response on holding local referendums to veto excessive council tax increases
We have published our response to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) consultation on holding local referendums to veto excessive council tax increases. We have offered to assist CLG in producing legislation and guidance that would ensure that these referendums are well run.
9 August 2010: Our position on combining elections and referendums
In November 2009 we reviewed the evidence base, including relevant international experience, for our previous position that referendums and elections should in general not be held on the same day. At its meeting on 4 November the Commission's Board decided that each specific proposal to hold polls on the same day should be considered on its merits. The evidence review that was used to inform this decision is below:
In July 2010 the Commission set out its views on the specific proposal hold a referendum on the voting system for the UK Parliament on 5 May 2011, the same day as scheduled elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of England:
9 July 2010: Our response to Scotland Office consultation on draft rules for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2011
We have written to the Scotland Office of the UK Government setting out our views on its draft rules for the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election.