Absent Voting

Constitutional Affairs written question – answered on 27th March 2007.

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Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what mechanisms are in place to prevent the fraudulent filling in of a postal ballot obtained with false identification.

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs

Applicants for a postal vote must be included on the electoral register. The Electoral Administration Act 2006 imposes a duty on the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) to ensure electoral registers are accurate and comprehensive. It also strengthens the objections procedures, and enables EROs to act upon any objections made to a person's entry on the register, and to initiate an investigation into a person's entry on the register if the ERO is in doubt about whether the person is entitled to be registered.

The Act creates the new offence of falsely applying for a postal vote.

The Act also establishes a scheme that provides for the use of personal identifiers by postal voters. They require persons voting by post to provide their signature and date of birth, both when they apply for a postal vote and when they return their postal vote at an election. Checks will be done to ensure the personal identifiers match.

If an ERO is in doubt about the validity of a postal vote application he may make further inquiries with the applicant, and if necessary, he may report the matter to the police. Signatures and dates of birth will be stored by the ERO, and will be important evidence in the event of any investigation into suspected fraudulent applications.

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