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European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill


European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill

1

 

A

Bill

To

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

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:—

Piloting

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;

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(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

enactment.

(2)   

The Secretary of State must not make an order under this section unless he first

consults the Electoral Commission.

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(3)   

It is immaterial whether such consultation occurs before or after the passing of

this Act.

(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;

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(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—

(a)   

London;

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Bill 353/3
 
 

European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill

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(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

5

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.

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(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—

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(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.

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(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

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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.

Reports

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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;

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(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

report.

 

 

European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill

3

 

(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

5

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

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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

malpractice;

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(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—

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(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—

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(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

30

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

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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

election.

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(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

the order.

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European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill

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Offences

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)

5

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)

applies.

(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

10

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

15

challenged voter).

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

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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.

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(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.

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(4)   

An appropriate application is—

(a)   

in relation to England and Wales, an application by a constable or

Crown Prosecutor;

(b)   

in relation to Scotland, an application by the procurator fiscal.

Other elections, etc.

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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

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modifying or disapplying any enactment mentioned in the Schedule).

 

 

 
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