Make provision for piloting in certain regions different methods of voting at
the European Parliamentary general election in 2004 and at certain local
elections held at the same time; and to enable consequential alterations to be
made to voting procedures at local 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:—
1 Piloting conduct at European and local elections
(1) The Secretary of State may by order require that in relation to any of the pilot
matters an election to which this section applies must be conducted—
(a) in the manner described in the order;
(b) in accordance with such provision made by order under section 2
which differs in any respect from that made by or under a relevant
(2) The Secretary of State must not make an order under this section unless he first
consults the Electoral Commission.
(3) It is immaterial whether such consultation occurs before or after the passing of
(4) The following are elections to which this section applies—
(a) the European Parliamentary general election of 2004 in a region
specified in the order;
(b) a local government election in England and Wales if the poll at such an
election is combined with the poll at the European Parliamentary
general election in a region specified in the order.
(5) An order under this section must not specify—
(b) the combined region established by order under section 11 of the
European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003 (c. 7) (region to be
combined with Gibraltar).
2 Pilot order
(1) If the Secretary of State makes an order under section 1 (the main order) he
must also make an order under this section (the pilot order).
(2) The pilot order must make provision in connection with such of the pilot
matters to which the main order relates for the manner in which the conduct of
an election to which section 1 applies may differ from conduct provided for by
or under a relevant enactment.
(3) In particular, the pilot order may make provision for voting to take place—
(a) on more than one day (whether or not each of the days is a day
appointed as a day of the poll); or
(b) at places other than polling stations.
(4) The Secretary of State must send a copy of the pilot order to—
(a) each relevant local authority in a region specified in the main order;
(b) the Electoral Commission;
(c) the person who is by virtue of section 6 of the European Parliamentary
Elections Act 2002 (c. 24) the returning officer for each region specified
in the main order.
(5) A local authority to whom a copy of the pilot order is sent must publish the
order in their area in such manner as they think fit.
(6) Subsections (2) and (3) of section 1 apply in relation to the pilot order as they
apply in relation to the main order.
3 Pilot schemes under the 2000 Act
Section 10 of the Representation of the People Act 2000 (c. 2) (pilot schemes for
local elections in England and Wales) does not apply to a local government
election if the poll at the election is to be taken on the same day as the poll at
the European Parliamentary general election of 2004.
4 Electoral Commission report
(1) After any elections have been held in a region in accordance with provision
made by order under section 2, the Electoral Commission must prepare a
report in relation to the pilot matters on—
(a) the manner in which the elections were conducted;
(b) the different provision.
(2) The Electoral Commission must consult such relevant local authorities in the
region as they consider appropriate in connection with the preparation of the
(3) Every relevant local authority in the region must give the Commission such
assistance as they may reasonably require in connection with the preparation
of the report.
(4) The assistance may include—
(a) making arrangements for ascertaining the views of voters about the
administration of the elections;
(b) reporting to the Commission allegations of personation and of other
electoral offences or malpractice.
(5) The report must include a copy of the orders made under sections 1 and 2.
(6) The report must also include an assessment of the extent to which the manner
in which the elections were conducted and the different provision—
(a) facilitated voting at the elections;
(b) encouraged voting at the elections;
(c) affected the incidence of personation or other electoral offences or
(d) assisted the counting of votes at the elections;
(e) provided opportunities for savings in the costs of administering the
elections or led to any increase in such costs.
(7) The assessment must include a statement by the Electoral Commission as to
whether in their opinion—
(a) the turnout of voters was higher than it would otherwise have been;
(b) voters found the procedures provided for their assistance easy to use.
(8) Not later than the end of the period of three months beginning with the date of
the declaration of the result of the European Parliamentary general election in
the region the Electoral Commission must—
(a) send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State, and
(b) publish the report in such manner as they think fit.
(9) Different provision is provision made by order under section 2.
(10) This section does not affect the duty of the Electoral Commission to prepare
and publish under section 5 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums
Act 2000 (c. 41) a report on the administration of the election.
5 Revision of procedures in light of report
(1) If a report is made under section 4 above on the conduct of a local government
election section 11 of the Representation of the People Act 2000 (c. 2) (revision
of procedures in the light of pilot schemes) applies as it applies if a report is
made under section 10 of that Act, subject to the following modifications.
(2) The reference in section 11(1) to provision similar to that made by a scheme
under section 10 is to be read as a reference to provision similar to that made
by an order under section 1 or 2 above for the conduct of the local government
(3) Subsection (4) of section 11 is to be read as if it required the Secretary of State,
when laying a draft of an order under that section, to lay a copy of each report
of the Electoral Commission under section 4 above on the conduct of a local
government election held in accordance with provision similar to that made by
6 Personation: arrestable offence
(1) In relation to England and Wales, for the purposes of any election held in
accordance with provision made by order under section 2, the offence of
personation under section 60 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c. 2)
must be treated as if it is an offence to which section 24(2) of the Police and
Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c. 60) (offences which are arrestable offences)
(2) In relation to Scotland, for the purposes of any election held in accordance with
provision made by order under section 2, a constable may arrest without
warrant a person whom he has reasonable cause to believe is committing or
has committed the offence of personation under section 60 of the
Representation of the People Act 1983.
(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not affect anything which may be done in pursuance
of Rule 36 of Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 (arrest of
7 Time limit for prosecution of offences
(1) This section applies for the purposes of any election held in accordance with
provision made by order under section 2.
(2) A magistrates’ court or (in Scotland) the sheriff may act under subsection (3) if
it or he (as the case may be) is satisfied on an appropriate application—
(a) that there are exceptional circumstances which justify the granting of
the application, and
(b) that there has been no undue delay in the investigation of the offence to
which the application relates.
(3) The magistrates’ court or the sheriff (as the case may be) may extend the time
within which proceedings for an offence must be commenced in pursuance of
section 176(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (time limit for
prosecution of offences under that Act) to not more than 24 months after the
offence is committed.
(4) An appropriate application is—
(a) in relation to England and Wales, an application by a constable or
(b) in relation to Scotland, an application by the procurator fiscal.
Other elections, etc.
8 Other elections, etc.
(1) The Schedule (which makes provision for certain other elections and
referendums) has effect.
(2) An order under section 1 may make provision in consequence of anything
required or permitted in pursuance of the Schedule (including provision
modifying or disapplying any enactment mentioned in the Schedule).