Voter registration reform

During the Second Reading debate on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill yesterday, Mr Evennett backed proposals to modernise and improve the system. He said:

Mr David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con): I welcome what my hon. Friend is endeavouring to do in this Bill, particularly his determination to modernise our system and to get more people registered to vote. Does he share my concern that many people are on the register who should not be, and, in particular, that people who do not have leave to remain in the country are participating in voting? Will that also change under his system?

The Minister replied:

Mr Harper: My hon. Friend is right. There are two aspects to what we are doing. We want to make sure that the register is more complete and that people who are eligible to vote are on it, but it is equally important to make sure that those who are not eligible to vote are not on it. I hope that he will be reassured about that as I set out some of the details. On his specific point, there will be changes to make it clearer for people to identify when they are a Commonwealth citizen and what their immigration status is. We will be piloting some work with the UK Border Agency to see whether we can create a systemic process to check people’s leave to remain so that only those who are entitled to be here are able to vote here. That will be a welcome step forward.