Electoral Registration and Administration Bill (HL Bill 33)

A

BILL

TO

Make provision about the registration of electors and the administration and
conduct of elections.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1 Individual electoral registration in Great Britain

1 Individual registration

(1) After section 10ZB of the Representation of the People Act 1983 insert—

10ZC 5  Registration of electors in Great Britain

(1) A registration officer in Great Britain must enter a person (“P”) in a
register maintained by the officer if—

(a) an application for registration is made by someone who appears
to the officer to be P,

(b) 10any requirements imposed by or under this Act in relation to
the application are met, and

(c) P appears to the officer to be entitled to be registered in the
register.

(a)(a)an application for registration is made by someone who appears
15to the officer to be P,

(b) any requirements imposed by or under this Act in relation to
the application are met, and

(c) P appears to the officer to be entitled to be registered in the
register.

(2) 20In determining an application under this section, the officer must
consider any objection made in accordance with the prescribed
requirements by another person whose name appears in the register.

(3) Regulations may make provision about the procedure for determining
applications under this section.

(2) 25Schedule 1 contains amendments about the alteration of registers and removal
from a register.

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(3) Registration officers in Great Britain must have regard to any guidance given
by the Minister about the determination of applications under section 10ZC of
the 1983 Act.

(4) The guidance that may be given includes guidance about the process for
5determining whether the conditions in subsection (1) of that section are met
and the relative weight to be given to different kinds of evidence.

(5) Subsections (3) and (4) cease to have effect at the end of the period of 5 years
beginning with the day on which they come fully into force.

2 Applications for registration and verification of entitlement etc

(1) 10Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 (provisions which may
be contained in regulations as to registration etc) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 1, after sub-paragraph (2) insert—

(2A) The provision that may be made under sub-paragraph (2) includes,
in particular, provision authorising or requiring a registration officer
15in Great Britain to—

(a) require a person who has made an application under section
10ZC or 10ZD to provide evidence (or evidence of a
prescribed kind or of a kind determined by the Secretary of
State) that he or she is the person named in the application;

(b) 20require a person who has made an application under section
10ZC or 10ZD, or any person whose name appears in a
register, to provide evidence (or evidence of a prescribed
kind or of a kind determined by the Secretary of State) for the
purpose of enabling the officer to determine whether a
25person is entitled to be registered in a register maintained by
the officer.

(Examples of the evidence that a person may be required to provide
include the evidence mentioned in paragraph 3ZA(5).)

(2B) Provision of the kind mentioned in sub-paragraph (2A) may
30authorise or require the registration officer to require a person to
provide the evidence to a registration officer or to some other
prescribed person (or person of a prescribed description).

(3) After paragraph 3 insert—

3ZA (1) Provision about applications under section 10ZC or 10ZD, including
35in particular provision about—

(a) the form and contents of applications and of any declarations
to be made in connection with them;

(b) the manner in which applications are to be made.

(2) Provision made under sub-paragraph (1) may include provision—

(a) 40conferring functions on registration officers, or local or public
authorities, to enable applications to be made in a particular
manner;

(b) conferring other functions on registration officers;

(c) conferring functions on the Electoral Commission.

(3) 45Provision requiring a person making an application under section
10ZC or 10ZD—

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(a) to provide evidence that he or she is the person named in the
application;

(b) to provide evidence of entitlement to be registered.

(4) Provision made under sub-paragraph (3) may—

(a) 5specify the evidence that a person is required to provide;

(b) require a person to provide evidence of a kind determined by
the Secretary of State.

(5) Examples of the evidence that a person may be required to provide
include the person’s date of birth or national insurance number.

(6) 10Provision made under sub-paragraph (3) may require a person to
provide the evidence to a registration officer or to some other
prescribed person (or person of a prescribed description).

(4) After paragraph 8A insert—

8B (1) Provision authorising or requiring a registration officer in
15determining an application under section 10ZC or 10ZD, in
prescribed cases, to treat a prescribed person’s statement of a fact as
sufficient evidence of that fact.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1) “prescribed” includes of a prescribed
description.

(5) 20Schedule 2 to this Act contains amendments related to this section.

3 Proxies to be registered electors

In paragraph 6 of Schedule 4 to the Representation of the People Act 2000
(absent voting in Great Britain), for sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) substitute—

(3) A person is not capable of being appointed to vote, or voting, as proxy
25at a parliamentary election unless the person is or will be registered in
a register of parliamentary electors in Great Britain or Northern
Ireland.

(3A) A person is not capable of being appointed to vote, or voting, as proxy
at a local government election unless the person is or will be registered
30in a register of local government electors in Great Britain or Northern
Ireland.

(4) A person is not capable of being appointed to vote, or voting, as proxy
at a parliamentary or local government election if the person is subject
to any legal incapacity (age apart) to vote at that election as an elector.

4 35Annual canvass

After section 9C of the Representation of the People Act 1983 insert—

9D Maintenance of registers: duty to conduct canvass in Great Britain

(1) Each registration officer in Great Britain must conduct an annual
canvass in relation to the area for which the officer acts.

(2) 40The purpose of the canvass is to ascertain—

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(a) the names and addresses of persons who are entitled to be
registered in a register maintained by the officer but who are not
registered;

(b) those persons who are registered in such a register but who are
5not entitled to be registered.

(3) The canvass is to be conducted in a manner to be set out in regulations.

(4) The regulations may confer functions on the Electoral Commission (for
example, the Commission may be required to design a canvass form).

(5) A registration officer may make house to house inquiries for the
10purposes of the canvass, for example—

(a) to obtain information before sending out a canvass form,

(b) to supplement information provided on a canvass form, or

(c) to obtain information where no canvass form is returned.

(6) Nothing in this section applies in relation to—

(a) 15the registration of persons in respect of residence in penal
institutions (within the meaning of section 3) or mental
hospitals (within the meaning of section 7) or other places at
which persons to whom section 7A applies may be detained,

(b) the registration of persons in pursuance of declarations of local
20connection, service declarations or overseas electors’
declarations, or

(c) the registration of persons with anonymous entries in the
register.

5 Invitations to register

(1) 25After section 9D of the Representation of the People Act 1983 insert—

9E Maintenance of registers: invitations to register in Great Britain

(1) A registration officer in Great Britain must give a person an invitation
to apply for registration in a register maintained by the officer if—

(a) the officer is aware of the person’s name and address,

(b) 30the person is not registered in the register, and

(c) the officer has reason to believe that the person may be entitled
to be registered in the register.

(2) Regulations may make provision about invitations under
subsection (1), including—

(a) 35provision about the form and contents of invitations;

(b) provision about the giving of invitations (for example,
provision about the manner in which they must be given or how
often they must be given);

(c) provision requiring invitations to be accompanied by, or
40combined with, application forms or other documents
(including partially completed application forms).

(3) Regulations under subsection (2) may confer functions on the Electoral
Commission (for example, the Commission may be required to design
an invitation).

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(4) A registration officer who gives a person an invitation under
subsection (1) may subsequently require the person to make an
application for registration by a specified date.

(5) A requirement under subsection (4) is of no effect if the person is not
5entitled to be registered.

(6) Regulations—

(a) may make provision about requirements under subsection (4)
(including provision for them to be cancelled in specified
circumstances);

(b) 10may specify steps that a registration officer must take before
imposing a requirement.

(7) A registration officer may impose a civil penalty on a person who fails
to comply with a requirement imposed by the officer under
subsection (4).

(8) 15For more about civil penalties under this section, see Schedule ZA1.

(2) Schedule 3 inserts a new Schedule ZA1 into the 1983 Act.

6 Power to amend or abolish the annual canvass

(1) The Minister may by order make provision for the purposes of assisting
registration officers in Great Britain to ascertain—

(a) 20the names and addresses of persons who are not registered in a register
but who are entitled to be registered;

(b) those persons who are registered in a register but who are not entitled
to be registered.

(2) The Minister may by order—

(a) 25modify section 9D of the Representation of the People Act 1983 or any
other provision relating to a canvass under that section;

(b) abolish the duty to conduct a canvass under that section.

(3) If the duty to conduct a canvass is abolished, the provision that may be made
under subsection (1) includes provision reinstating the duty.

(4) 30An order under this section may create offences punishable on summary
conviction by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(5) An order under this section may confer power to make subordinate legislation
and, if it does so, must provide—

(a) that the subordinate legislation is to be made by statutory instrument,
35and

(b) that the instrument may not be made unless a draft of it has been laid
before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

7 Consulting Electoral Commission about proposals under section 6

(1) If the Minister consults the Electoral Commission about a proposal to make an
40order under section 6, the Commission must prepare a report assessing—

(a) the extent to which the objective in subsection (2) is met,

(b) the extent to which the objective would be met if the order were made,
and

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(c) the merits of alternative ways of achieving the objective.

(2) The objective is to assist registration officers in Great Britain to ascertain—

(a) the names and addresses of persons who are not registered in a register
but who are entitled to be registered;

(b) 5those persons who are registered in a register but who are not entitled
to be registered.

(3) The Electoral Commission must give a copy of the report to the Minister by the
specified date.

(4) The “specified date” means a date to be specified by the Minister and the date
10must not be before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the day
on which the Commission is consulted.

(5) A registration officer in Great Britain must comply with any request made by
the Electoral Commission for information that it reasonably requires in
connection with the preparation of a report under this section.

(6) 15When a draft of a statutory instrument containing an order under section 6 is
laid before Parliament (see section 10), it must be accompanied by a report
under this section, unless the instrument contains provision only for the
purpose of reinstating the duty to conduct a canvass as mentioned in
section 6(3).

8 20Piloting of changes to the annual canvass

(1) An order under section 6 may be made so as to have effect in relation to a
specified period.

(2)
An order which, by virtue of subsection (1), is to have effect in relation to a
limited period is referred to in this section as a “pilot scheme”.

(3) 25The Minister may make a pilot scheme applying in relation to an area only if
the registration officer for that area has—

(a) proposed the making of a pilot scheme in relation to that area, and

(b) agreed to any modifications made by the Minister to the proposal.

(4) Section 7 does not apply in relation to a pilot scheme.

(5) 30The provision that may be made in a pilot scheme by virtue of section 10(3)
includes, in particular, provision in connection with the expiry of the specified
period.

(6)
A pilot scheme may be replaced by a further pilot scheme.

(7) If a pilot scheme is made, the Electoral Commission must—

(a) 35prepare a report on the pilot scheme, and

(b) by no later than a date to be specified in the pilot scheme, give a copy
of the report to the Minister and to the registration officer for the area
concerned (or the officer for each area concerned).

(8) The Electoral Commission’s report must contain—

(a) 40a description of the pilot scheme,

(b) an assessment of the extent to which the objective in section 7(2) was
met in the area or areas concerned immediately before the specified
period,

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(c) an assessment of the extent to which the objective was met in the area
or areas concerned during the specified period, and

(d) an assessment of the extent to which the scheme resulted in savings of
time and costs, or the opposite.

(9) 5The Minister must publish the Electoral Commission’s report.

(10) A registration officer in Great Britain must comply with any request made by
the Electoral Commission for information that it reasonably requires in
connection with the preparation of a report under this section.

9 Piloting registration provisions

(1) 10The Minister may by order make provision for the purpose of testing, for a
specified period and in relation to a specified area, how the changes made by
any registration provision work in practice.

(2) An order under this section may, in particular, make provision the effect of
which corresponds to the effect of the amendments made by any registration
15provision (or the subordinate legislation that may be made by virtue of any
registration provision).

(3) “Registration provision” means any provision of—

(a) section 1 and Schedule 1,

(b) section 2 and Schedule 2, and

(c) 20Schedule 4.

(4) The Minister may make an order under this section in relation to an area only
if the registration officer for that area has—

(a) proposed the making of an order in relation to that area, and

(b) agreed to any modifications made by the Minister to the proposal.

(5) 25The provision that may be made in an order under this section by virtue of
section 10(3) includes, in particular, provision in connection with the expiry of
the specified period.

(6) An order under this section may make provision modifying Schedule 5 (for
example, to modify the meaning of “new application for registration”).

10 30Orders under Part 1

(1) An order under this Part is to be made by statutory instrument.

(2) A statutory instrument containing an order under this Part (whether alone or
with other provision) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has
been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(3) 35An order under this Part may make consequential, supplementary, incidental,
transitional or saving provision.

(4) An order under this Part may modify any other Act or subordinate legislation
(whenever passed or made).

(5) An order under this Part—

(a) 40may apply generally or only in specified cases, circumstances or areas;

(b) may make different provision for different cases, circumstances or
areas.

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11 Interpretation of Part 1

In this Part—

  • “modify” includes amend, repeal or revoke;

  • “register” means a register of parliamentary electors or local government
    5electors maintained by a registration officer in Great Britain;

  • “registration officer” has the same meaning as in the Representation of the
    People Act 1983 (see section 8 of that Act);

  • “subordinate legislation” has the same meaning as in the Interpretation
    Act 1978.

12 10Amendments and transitional provision

(1) Schedule 4 contains amendments to do with this Part.

(2) Schedule 5 makes transitional provision to do with this Part.

(3) In relation to an offence committed in England and Wales before the
commencement of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference
15to 12 months in paragraph 13(1ZD)(a) of Schedule 2 to the Representation of
the People Act 1983 (inserted by Schedule 2 to this Act) is to be read as a
reference to 6 months.

(4) In relation to an offence committed in England and Wales before the
commencement of section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference
20to 51 weeks in paragraph 13(1ZD)(b) of Schedule 2 to the Representation of the
People Act 1983 (inserted by Schedule 2 to this Act) is to be read as a reference
to 6 months.

Part 2 Administration and conduct of elections etc

13 25Extension of timetable for parliamentary elections

(1) In section 3(1) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (Parliament to be
dissolved on 17th working day before polling day), for “17th” substitute
“25th”.

(2) Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 (parliamentary
30elections rules) is amended in accordance with subsections (3) to (5).

(3) In the Timetable in rule 1, in the entry relating to “Polling”, in column 3 (polling
day for by-election to be on 9th to 11th day after last day for delivery of
nomination papers)—

(a) for “ninth” substitute “17th”, and

(b) 35for “eleventh” substitute “19th”.

(4) In rule 30(3) (notice of appointment of polling and counting agents to be given
no later than the second day before the poll), for “second” substitute “5th”.

(5) In rules 61(9), 63(9) and 64(6) (where election candidate dies, fresh poll to be
held 15 to 19 days after day on which election writ treated as received)—

(a) 40for “15” substitute “21”, and

(b) for “19” substitute “27”.

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(6) In Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) Order 2001 (S.I.
2001/2599 (N.I.)), in the entry for rule 30, omit the words in the second column.

14 Timing of parish and community council elections in England and Wales

(1) Section 16 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 (postponement of
5parish and community council elections in England and Wales) is repealed.

(2) In section 29(5) of that Act (provisions which do not extend to Northern
Ireland), for “16 to 18” substitute “17 and 18”.

(3) In section 40(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (effect of bank
holidays etc on timing of elections), omit “or section 16 of the Representation
10of the People Act 1985”.

15 Alteration of electoral registers: pending elections

(1) The Representation of the People Act 1983 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 13A (alteration of registers)—

(a) in subsection (4), after “section” insert “13AB(2),”;

(b) 15in subsection (5), after “this section, section” insert “13AB,”.

(3) After that section insert—

13AB Alteration of registers: interim publication dates

(1) Subsections (2) and (3) apply in relation to an interim publication date
where—

(a) 20at any time before the interim publication date, section 13A
applies to a registration officer (by virtue of section 13A(1)) in
connection with a determination, requirement or decision
within section 13A(1)(za), (zb), (b), (c) or (d),

(b) in consequence of the determination, requirement or decision
25an entry relating to a person falls to be made in (or removed
from) the register in respect of an address in the relevant
election area, and

(c) no alteration made in consequence of the determination,
requirement or decision has already taken effect, or is due to
30take effect, under a relevant provision on or before the interim
publication date.

(2) On the interim publication date the registration officer must issue, in
the prescribed manner, a notice specifying the appropriate alteration in
the register.

(3) 35The alteration takes effect from the beginning of the interim publication
date.

(4) There are two interim publication dates (in relation to a registration
officer and an election to which this section applies).

(5) The first interim publication date is the last day on which nomination
40papers may be delivered to the returning officer for the purposes of the
election.