Electricity Market Reform (General) Regulations 2014 and 8 related instruments; Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2014 - Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee Contents


ARTICLE V.  APPENDIX 2: RESPONSE FROM THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON THE DRAFT POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER ELECTIONS (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) ORDER 2014)


The Electoral Commission welcomes the invitation of the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to comment on the draft Order, above, laid before Parliament by the Home Office on July 9 2014.

Having recommended such a booklet be produced both before and since the first PCC polls in November 2012, the Commission supports the intention of the Order to provide for an information booklet about PCC by-elections to be delivered to households as a pilot measure.

·  The Commission is satisfied that the approach proposed for the funding of such a booklet mirrors that used for mayoral elections in England, including for the Mayor of London

·  The Commission welcomes the opportunities presented by a pilot scheme

·  The Commission believes that the evaluation of the impact of a pilot scheme should include whether the level of financial support requested of candidates by the Returning Officer was appropriate.

·  The Commission understands that all candidates will also have an equal opportunity the opportunity to publish their election address on a website provided by the Home Office, as was the case for the elections in November 2012

Section 5.01  Background

There was very clear evidence from our survey of voters and non-voters that the lack of voters' awareness had a significant impact upon the first set of PCC elections on 15 November 2012 when provision was not made for every household to receive a candidate information booklet of type provided for the nearest comparative elections (those for elected Mayors).

Following the 2012 PCC elections, the Commission asked people who did not vote their reasons for not voting; about 37% of them gave a reason that related to a lack of awareness. This compares to the usual response rate of 6% or 7% of people who cite lack of information when asked to explain their decision not to vote at other elections.

The Commission also asked questions about whether people felt they had enough information to make an informed choice about those standing to be elected as a PCC and only 22% of people said they felt they did have enough information. By comparison, at the last set of local government elections in May, 63% of people said they had enough information to make an informed choice, so a lack of awareness was a significant factor in the historic low level of turn out at the last elections.

The Commission's report on how the 2012 PCC Elections were run may be found here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/154353/PCC-Elections-Report.pdf

Section 5.02  Consultation on the draft Order

The Commission was consulted on this Order by the Home Office and identified two minor technical amendments which were both accepted.

Conclusion

The Commission supports the intention of the Order and a full evaluation of the pilot in order to help ensure that lack of information does not adversely impact voters' experience at future PCC elections in England and Wales.


 
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