To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will make and publish an urgent assessment of how many local returning officers failed performance standard one in relation to European Parliament elections because polling cards were delivered without adequate time to allow people to (a) change their registration details and (b) apply for an absent vote; what the (i) earliest, (ii) latest and (iii) average date was that local authorities sent out polling cards for the European Parliament elections; what effect the delay between commencement of the statutory election timetable on 15 April 2019 for all regions and formal Cabinet level confirmation on 7 May 2019 that the European Parliamentary elections would go ahead had on the decisions of local authorities on when to send out polling cards; and if he will make a statement.
The Commission has collected information on the estimated despatch dates for the first issue of poll cards to registered electors for the European Parliamentary election. The earliest estimated dates were in the week commencing 15 April 2019 and the latest dates were in the week commencing 6 May 2019; the average dates for despatch were in the week commencing 22 April 2019.
The timing of despatch of poll cards varies by local authority area and will depend on factors such as the ability of print suppliers to meet RO requirements.
Returning Officers (ROs) are required to send out poll cards to electors as soon as practicable after the publication of the notice of election. The confirmation received on 7 May 2019 that the election would proceed would therefore have had no impact on the decisions of ROs as to when to send out poll cards.
The Commission continues to provide guidance, support and challenge to Regional and Local ROs. It will report on the administration of the poll and the performance of ROs against the performance standards after the election.