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103: After Clause 28, insert the following new Clause—

“Personal identifiers at the ballot box

(1) Schedule 1 (parliamentary election rules) to the Representation of the People Act 1983 is amended as follows.

(2) After rule 37(1) (ballot paper to be delivered to voter on application) there is inserted—

“(1A) A ballot paper shall not be delivered to a voter unless he has produced a specified document to the presiding officer or a clerk.

(1B) Where a voter produces a specified document, the presiding officer or clerk to whom it is produced shall deliver a ballot paper to the voter unless the officer or clerk decides that the document raises a reasonable doubt as to whether the voter is the elector or proxy he represents himself to be.

(1C) Where a voter produces a specified document to a presiding officer and he so decides, the presiding officer shall refuse to deliver a ballot paper to the voter.

(1D) Where a voter produces a specified document to a clerk and he so decides, he shall refer the matter and produce the document to the presiding officer who shall proceed as if the document has been produced to him in the first place.

(1E) For the purposes of this rule the Secretary of State must, as soon as is practicable, after consultation with the Electoral Commission, designate by order what the “specified document” or “specified documents” are.

(1F) The power to make an order under paragraph (1E) is exercisable by statutory instrument.

(1G) No order may be made under paragraph (1E) unless a draft of the instrument containing the order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(1H) Orders made under paragraph (1E) may be subject to alteration by subsequent orders made by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Electoral Commission.

(1I) References in this rule to producing a document are to producing it for inspection.”

(3) After rule 38(1) (incapacitated voter’s vote to be marked on ballot paper on application) there is inserted—

“(1A) Paragraphs (1A) to (1G) of rule 37 shall apply in the case of a voter who applies under paragraph (1) above as they apply in the case of a voter who applies under rule 37(1), but reading references to delivering a ballot paper to a voter as references to causing a voter’s vote to be marked on a ballot paper.”.

(4) After rule 39(2) (blind voter to be allowed assistance of companion on application) there is inserted—

“(2A) Paragraphs (1A) to (1G) of rule 37 shall apply in the case of a voter who applies under paragraph (1) above as they apply in the case of a voter who applies under rule 37(1), but reading references to delivering a ballot paper to a voter as references to granting a voter’s application.”.

(5) After rule 40(1) (person entitled to mark tendered ballot paper after another has voted) there is inserted—



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“(1A) Paragraphs (1A) to (1G) of rule 37 shall apply in the case of a person who seeks to mark a tendered ballot paper under paragraph (1) above as they apply in the case of a voter who applies for a ballot paper under rule 37(1).

(1B) Paragraph (1C) below applies where a presiding officer refuses to deliver a ballot paper to a person under paragraph (1C) of rule 37 (including that paragraph as applied by rule 38 or 39 or this rule).

(1C) The person shall, on satisfactorily answering the questions permitted by law to be asked at the poll, nevertheless be entitled, subject to the following provisions of this rule, to mark a ballot paper (in these rules referred to as “a tendered ballot paper”) in the same manner as any other voter.”.

(6) After rule 40(4) there is inserted—

“(5) A person who marks a tendered ballot paper under paragraph (1C) shall sign the paper, unless it was marked after an application was refused under rule 38 or 39.

(6) A paper which is required to be signed under paragraph (5) above and is not so signed shall be void.”.”

Lord Henley: My Lords, this amendment brings in personal identifiers at the ballot box. I spoke on this issue in our long debate on IVR in Grand Committee. At that point, I said that I did not think that fraud at the ballot box in the form of personation was that serious a problem. I have since been advised that it is, in fact, a growing problem, mainly in local elections, because personation is quite difficult to do in large numbers. However, in houses of multiple occupancy and similar establishments it is often easy for people to pick up a number of different polling cards and use them to vote in the names of other people.

When he responded in Committee, the Minister did not consider this to be a serious problem and did not seem to think that merely providing some proof of identity would necessarily deal with it, because one would have to decide what type of proof of identity would have to be produced. In the previous group of amendments, the noble Lord prayed in aid Northern Ireland legislation. We have taken our amendment from legislation in Northern Ireland whereby voters have to have personal identifiers, but we have left out the bit that specifies the document that would have to be produced by the individual when they turned up at the polling station. We have left it for the Secretary of State to designate that by order.

Most of us normally carry some form of identification that would be enough to stamp out most fraud of this sort—a driving licence or even a credit card. If people were required to take credit cards, which obviously do not have photo ID on them, it would complicate the whole matter and would make it that much harder for them to commit fraud on a large scale, which must be our issue of concern.

I feel quite strongly about this amendment, but I shall listen carefully to what the noble Lord has to say about it. At this hour, whether we press this to a vote will depend very much on the support I receive from other parts of the House and on the response I get from the Government as to whether they will consider bringing this measure forward at a future date. I beg to move.

Lord Tyler: My Lords, all that I want to say at this stage is that I know from friends who have experience of Northern Ireland that they think that the requirement

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for personal identification is natural. They are so used to it that they do not think that this matter should be controversial. Frankly, at this time of night we are not going to have a substantial debate, but we may well wish to return to this issue at Third Reading. I hope that the Minister will give some thought to what could be done, because there is a genuine concern that if we are to move in this direction we need to ensure that it works as effectively as it does in Northern Ireland.

Lord Bach: My Lords, the amendment would require electors to produce evidence of their identity in order to be issued with a ballot paper at a polling station in an election. The purpose is to strengthen the security of the voting process at polling stations. Of course, voting at polling stations has traditionally been conducted without the need for any personal identification to be produced.

However, as we have been told, it is an offence to attempt to vote in place of another elector. That is personation. The Electoral Commission has provided guidance for returning officers on the actions that polling station staff should take if they suspect that a person requesting a ballot paper is not who they claim to be. It has encouraged returning officers to supply copies of this guidance to all presiding officers. The commission and the Association of Chief Police Officers have also worked together to produce guidance for police officers on how they should respond to any incidents of personation at polling stations.

10 pm

Any proposal to require voters in polling stations in Great Britain to produce ID as envisaged under the amendment would need very careful consideration. Though the amendment provides for a wide range of documents that may be produced as evidence of identity at polling stations, the Government remain of the view that requiring identification might present considerable barriers to voting at elections for some individuals. I note from the Electoral Commission’s briefing note that it is also of this view, stating:

“While we would welcome such consultation, we believe that the benefits of moving to a system of ID in polling stations would need to be carefully considered before deciding on whether legislation should be introduced, so as to examine the risk that it could disenfranchise some electors”.

The requirement to produce evidence of identity would be a significant change; we must ensure that any approach is aligned with other reforms to the registration and electoral processes that are a part of this Bill. It would be premature at this stage to introduce identifiers in order to vote before we have had the chance to scrutinise the feasibility and any subsequent effectiveness of moving to a system that requires identifiers to be produced in order to register to vote.

It is perhaps worth mentioning the recent information published on 1 May by ACPO and the Electoral Commission, which allows us for the first time to examine the extent and nature of allegations of electoral malpractice. From the information published, it is evident that there were 13 alleged cases of personation at the 2008 elections, with no further action being taken in at least six of these cases. While any instance of personation is unacceptable, these figures must be

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seen in the context of the 16 million votes that were cast at those elections. Any response must be proportionate.

Our view is that, while not rejecting this out of hand, the available evidence does not justify the potential barriers to voting that the measure proposed by noble Lords might well put in place. This Government are prepared to take forward significant reform of the electoral system as, I hope, the introduction of individual registration clearly demonstrates. The approach we have taken to ensure that we strengthen the integrity of the system on a step-by-step basis, in the light of available evidence, in a way that does not disfranchise those electors who are entitled to cast their vote, is the right one. We do not think this amendment fits in with that. The great worry is that people will turn up at the polling station without any identification and then be turned away. That is the problem that we need to overcome. That is what I have to say on the matter on behalf of the Government tonight. I invite the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Henley: My Lords, I do not think that that was satisfactory. I am minded to consider what to do about it in due course. At three minutes past 10, I will spare the noble Lord a Division on this matter, because I suspect that the response that we might get might not be representative of the feelings of the House.

I think that there is a problem here. I have certainly been advised that there is one. I do not think that it would be a problem for people to bring some form of identification. Most people have some form of identification of one sort or another on them most of the time. We suspect the Government want ultimately to make that compulsory by bringing in ID cards. The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, denies this and shakes his head. However, we know that ID cards are on the way. At least, the Government seem to think that they are on the way; I am not sure that they will ever happen.

I will not go any further. The response was unsatisfactory. I will consider what we shall do with this matter. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 103 withdrawn.

Clause 29 : Obligatory provision of identifying information

Amendments 104 to 111

Moved by Lord Bach

104: Clause 29, page 30, line 34, after “above” insert “or by virtue of subsection (4C) above”

105: Clause 29, page 31, line 12, after “above” insert “or by virtue of subsection (1C) above”

106: Clause 29, page 31, line 47, after “above” insert “or by virtue of subsection (2C) above”

107: Clause 29, page 32, line 23, leave out from “keeper” to “, following” in line 24

108: Clause 29, page 32, line 36, at end insert “or checking a person’s entitlement to be registered in such a register”



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109: Clause 29, page 32, line 40, at end insert—

“(4ZC) Provisions for the disclosure by a CORE keeper to a registration officer, for the purpose mentioned in sub-paragraph (4ZA), of information within paragraph (a) or (b) of that sub-paragraph.”

110: Clause 29, page 32, line 40, at end insert—

“( ) in sub-paragraph (4A), for “such authority or person” there is substituted “authority or person within paragraph (a) or (b) of sub-paragraph (4)”, and for “such records” there is substituted “any records within sub-paragraph (4)”;”

111: Clause 29, page 32, line 43, leave out paragraph (c) and insert—

“(c) for sub-paragraph (6) there is substituted—

“(6) But provision made under sub-paragraph (4ZA), (4ZC) or (4A) may not permit information obtained by a registration officer or CORE keeper under that provision to be disclosed by the officer or CORE keeper except—

(a) for the purpose mentioned in sub-paragraph (4ZA) or, as the case may be, sub-paragraph (4A), or

(b) for the purposes of any criminal or civil proceedings,

or, in the case of information obtained by a registration officer, to a person to whom the officer may delegate functions.”;”

Amendments 104 to 111 agreed.

The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen): My Lords, as Amendment 111 has been agreed to, Amendment 112 should not refer to page 32, line 44.

Amendment 112

Moved by Lord Bach

112: Clause 29, page 32, line 44, at end insert—

“( ) after sub-paragraph (6) there is inserted—

“(6A) In sub-paragraphs (4ZA) and (4ZB) “CORE keeper” has the same meaning as in Part 1 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.”;”

Amendment 112 agreed.

Amendment 113

Moved by Lord Bach

113: Clause 29, page 32, line 45, leave out paragraph (d) and insert—

“(d) sub-paragraph (8) is omitted.”

Amendment 113 agreed.

The Deputy Speaker: My Lords, as Amendment 113 has been agreed to, Amendment 114 should not refer to page 32, line 46.

Amendment 114

Moved by Lord Bach

114: Clause 29, page 32, line 46, at end insert—

“( ) In paragraph 13 of that Schedule, for sub-paragraph (1ZA) there is substituted—



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“(1ZA) Provisions making a person who discloses information in breach of paragraph 1(6) guilty of an offence punishable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine, or both;

(b) on summary conviction in England and Wales and Scotland, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;

(c) on summary conviction in Northern Ireland, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both.””

Amendment 114 agreed.

Clause 30 : Provision supplementing section 29

Amendment 115

Moved by Lord Bach

115: Clause 30, page 33, leave out lines 29 and 30

Amendment 115 agreed.

Clause 31 : Schemes for provision of data to registration officers

Amendments 116 to 119

Moved by Lord Bach

116: Clause 31, page 33, line 42, leave out subsection (2) and insert—

“(2) The purpose is assisting the registration officer to meet the registration objectives and, in particular, assisting the officer—

(a) to ascertain to what extent those objectives are being met, and

(b) to determine what steps should be taken for meeting them.”

117: Clause 31, page 34, leave out lines 26 to 28 and insert—

“( ) A person who discloses information in breach of subsection (7) is guilty of an offence and liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine, or to both;

(b) on summary conviction in England and Wales and Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;

(c) on summary conviction in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.”

118: Clause 31, page 34, leave out lines 35 to 37

119: Clause 31, page 34, leave out lines 39 to 44

Amendments 116 to 119 agreed.

Clause 32 : Schemes under section 31: proposals, consultation and evaluation

Amendment 120

Moved by Lord Bach

120: Clause 32, page 35, line 36, leave out ““registration officer” and “scheme” mean the same” and insert ““scheme” has the same meaning”

Amendment 120 agreed.



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Amendment 121

Moved by Lord Bach

121: After Clause 32, insert the following new Clause—

“Meaning of expressions relating to registration

In this Part (except in section 29)—

“false”, in relation to a signature, means that the signature is not the usual signature of, or was written by a person other than, the person whose signature it purports to be;

“register”, in relation to a registration officer, means a register maintained by that officer under section 9 of the 1983 Act;

“registered person” means a person registered in such a register;

“registration objectives” has the meaning given by section 27(6);

“registration officer” has the same meaning as in the 1983 Act (see section 8 of that Act) except that it does not include the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland.”

Amendment 121 agreed.

Schedule 6 : Repeals

Amendments 122 and 123

Moved by Lord Bach

122: Schedule 6, page 76, line 42, at end insert—

“In Schedule 2, paragraph 1(8).”


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