Voting Behaviour

Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission written question – answered on 8th March 2017.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Electoral Commission's Electoral Administration Bulletin Issue 173, published in December 2016, what further steps the Commission has taken to encourage (a) local electoral registration officers and (b) the Association of Electoral Administrators, to make information available in a format which includes as much geographic information as possible, to make it easier for materials to be prepared and web services to be built to encourage electoral participation.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Electoral Commission's Electoral Administration Bulletin Issue 173, published in December 2016, what assessment the Commission has made of the potential merits of encouraging the voluntary adoption by (a) local electoral registration officers and (b) the Association of Electoral Administrators, of a standardised uniform format for the supply of information to make it easier for materials to be prepared and web services to be built by political parties and others to encourage electoral participation.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Electoral Commission's Electoral Administration Bulletin Issue 173, published in December 2016, whether the Commission plans to advise the Secretary of State to issue a direction under section 52 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to require local electoral registration officers to make such information available in an easy-to-reuse format which includes as much geographic information as possible to make it easier for materials to be prepared and web services to be built to encourage electoral participation.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Labour, Houghton and Sunderland South

The Electoral Commission is working with Democracy Club and with local authorities to provide voters with easy access to polling station and candidate information in the lead up to elections, via a central online resource. To facilitate the easy collation of returns from local authorities, Democracy Club provides guidance on providing data in an open format. The Commission has encouraged the voluntary adoption of this preferred approach through its own communications with local authorities, including in its Electoral Administration bulletin, in its Roll Call newsletter and in meetings with local authorities. Recognising that local authorities currently hold this data in a variety of different formats, Democracy Club and the Commission currently prioritise the participation of the local authorities and Democracy Club manage any necessary reformatting of submitted data. The Commission has no current plans to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State in respect of the provision of this information.

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