Examination of Witness

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

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Peter Stanyon:

In local authority A, the electoral registration officer will cover the area for that local authority, maybe giving that register away. That is reasonably straightforward in terms of polling stations and the like, but slightly more complicated with absent votes and postal votes. There need to be agreements about who will be leading on each individual process. In some areas, the give-away authority will administer parts of the process for the authority that has taken it in, because of software incompatibility or different approaches being taken.

Most of the challenge is about: how do you mirror local authority A’s working practice on to local authority B? Despite the fact that the law that everybody is working to is exactly the same, there are local practices that are slightly different. That comes down to the real nitty-gritty of things like how many staff are appointed to polling stations, the processes used for the opening of postal votes and things like that. It is more an administrative approach that is difficult, which means that the respective returning officers need to communicate very closely with each other, to make sure that there is no element of doubt as to the way in which processes are administered.