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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 steps local authorities have taken to protect the personal identifiers collected from postal voters from being (a) sold to third party companies and (b) used by (i) credit reference agencies and (ii) other non-governmental bodies.

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

Personal identifiers for postal voters are personal data held by an Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) not a local authority. Under the Electoral Administration Act 2006, they may only be disclosed to: other EROs to help them carry out their duties; returning officers at an election; persons involved in the preparation or conduct of legal proceedings under the Representation of the People Act 1983, such as the police or an election petition court.

Also, at the checking of postal votes at an election, candidates and their agents may see the personal identifiers relating to any postal votes that the returning officer is minded to reject, and they may also be disclosed to election observers, but only to the extent required to permit them to observe the proceedings.

There is no provision in legislation for personal identifiers collected from postal voters to be sold to third party companies or to be used by other non-governmental bodies such as credit reference agencies.

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