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Securing the vote - detailed proposals for electoral change announced

Published: 3 Jun 2008

This is an archived news release and links may no longer work.

A set of detailed proposals for reforming the way we vote is being published today by The Electoral Commission. The report Securing the vote sets out 45 recommendations in three fundamental areas individual registration; more checks and new offences. The Commission believes these must be implemented to ensure public confidence in the security and reliability of the electoral process.

The recommendations in summary are:

Individual registration

  • All electors should be required to provide individual identification details, for example a signature and date of birth, in addition to their name and address when registering to vote.
  • The deadline for registering to vote for a particular election should be moved closer to polling day after the election has been called.
  • Electoral registers should be maintained electronically and continuously updated.

More checks

  • All postal or proxy vote applications should include the personal identification details collected at registration, and Electoral Registration Officers should check applications against the identification details on the new register.
  • More time should be provided to allow for checks to be made during the processing of applications.
  • New postal vote security statements should include the personal identification details collected at registration, and Returning Officers should check the security statements against the identification details on the new register.

New offences

  • Failing to supply required information to Electoral Registration Officer.
  • Making a fraudulent application for a postal or proxy vote.
  • Power of arrest for personation outside a polling station.
  • Clarification of the law on the offence of undue influence.

Sam Younger, The Electoral Commissions Chairman said, Today we have set out the detail of changes we believe are fundamental to ensure a secure and reliable choice of voting methods for voters. The current system needs to be bolstered so that it can support both the increased demand for postal voting and future innovations in electronic voting.

We hope there will be broad consensus around these measures, which we believe are necessary to ensure continued public confidence in UK elections. However, it is essential that these changes for the future are resourced appropriately. We look forward to working with Government, political parties and others involved in the administration of elections, towards the speedy implementation of these measures.

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For further information contact:

Gemma Crosland on 020 7271 0527 or Maxine Hoeksma on 020 7271 0531. For out of office hours call 07789 920414. Email press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors:

The Electoral Commission is an independent body established by UK Parliament. It aims to ensure public confidence and participation in the democratic process within the United Kingdom through modernisation of the electoral process, promotion of public awareness of electoral matters, and regulation of political parties.

Journalist