Examination of Witness

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 23rd June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Peter Stanyon:

Yes, I did. Ironically, the most accurate register of electors is arguably the register that is published with the additions the month after a major poll. In the case of the December 2019 general election, applications were flooding in, but what happens over the elections process is that people are deleted from the register as a result of returned poll cards information coming through to registration officers. Ironically, it is usually the month after an election, when the updates are made, that we have the most accurate version of the register. You may well see drop-offs from the register because your processing-through information has been returned to registration officers as part of poll cards going out, postal votes for deceased electors being returned, and other such issues.

One of the huge things with regards to the 1 December register is that it is not the most accurate and complete register—any registration officer will tell you that. Since the introduction of individual elector registration, the canvass does not register people any longer; it identifies potential applicants. As a result, whereas prior to individual registration everything took place during the canvass period and the register was as complete as it could be on 1 December, now the canvassing process seeps into January, February and March as it runs towards the traditional May dates. You will see fluctuations in registers that mean that the snapshot taken in December is not necessarily the most complete or accurate register; it is more likely to be among the ones that you mentioned.

The register on 2 March, which is being proposed, would provide a more accurate figure than that provided by the register in December, simply because it has taken account of all the additions that were made through the canvass and that went through as part of rolling registration ahead of the general election, and then cleansed the register as a result of the information gleaned from both the canvass and the fall-out from the general election. I hope that answers your question. I am not sure whether I got everything covered there.