New section 1B (British citizens overseas: entitlement to be registered)
20 New subsections (1) to (4) replace existing section 2(1) of the RPA 1985. It provides that a person is eligible to be registered in pursuance of an overseas elector’s declaration if they have made a valid declaration under section 1C (overseas elector’s declaration) and that conditions in subsections (2) and (3) are met.
21 The conditions, in new subsections (2) and (3), are that:
1. the address at which the applicant is seeking to register (either as their previous registration address or their previous residence address) under their declaration is situated within the area for which the registration officer in question is responsible,
2. the registration officer must be satisfied that the person is eligible to be an overseas elector in respect of that constituency on the date he or she makes a valid declaration.
22 New subsection (4) provides registration officers with the ability to disregard the requirement in new section 1A(3)(c) that an applicant registering as ‘previously resident’ must never have been on an electoral register if the registration officer believes there is insufficient evidence to confirm whether or not an applicant was previously registered.
23 New subsection (5) states that declarations must be received by the registration officer within three months of the declaration’s date. Failure to comply will result in the declaration being void. This replicates section 2(6) of the RPA 1985.
24 New subsection (6) provides that for the purposes of section 1A there is to be a conclusive presumption that a person registered under an overseas elector’s declaration was not resident in the UK on the day they made the declaration. This is to allow the registration officer to remove any existing domestic registration and replace it once an overseas elector’s application has been successful. This replicates section 2(7) of the RPA 1985.
25 New subsection (7) directs the reader to the RPA 1983, the principal consolidated Act for elections, which makes other relevant provisions in relation to the making of applications to register to vote.