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Clause 3 — Absent votes and declarations of identity

Part of Orders of the Day — Election Fraud (Northern Ireland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:30 pm on 31st October 2001.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland) 9:30 pm, 31st October 2001

I take the point that the hon. Gentleman makes, and I think that we agree, but the form must be standard if the signature is to appear in the right place to be read by the computer and then to be cross-referenced to the information on the signature that is held on the register, so that people can check that they are the same. I presume that the same is true for the date of birth, as well as for the name. I imagine that it would be impossible for the computer to read that information if it did not appear in a standard place.

The Minister has said that a simple keying process would deal with that problem, but manual keying processes should be avoided as far as possible, given that 10,000 application forms may have to be checked at the last moment. The Minister will want to consider the issue further. He has had a fairly rough evening so far and I rely on him to reconsider the issue, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Order for Third Reading read.