Electronic Voting: Coronavirus

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 21st April 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission is holding discussions with other Parliaments moving to establish secure electronic voting systems by use of (a) email and (b) other methods during the covid-19 outbreak; and if the Commission will ensure that technical work to allow electronic voting in the UK Parliament is undertaken to enable proposals on the introduction of a secure electronic voting system to be put before the House; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee

The House of Commons Commission has held no discussions with other Parliaments about electronic voting by use of email or other methods during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Any decision to implement electronic voting would need to be agreed by the House first. The Commission’s responsibility in this matter would be limited to the financial and staffing implications of the decision, which would include the technical work to allow electronic voting to take place.

The House has not made a decision to introduce electronic voting. In July 2019, the Procedure Committee began an inquiry into voting procedures in the House of Commons that included a consideration of “the desirability and/or feasibility of alternatives to current arrangements”. That inquiry was interrupted by the general election and the Committee has not made any decision on whether to reopen it.

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