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Electoral Administration Act 2006

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Part 4 E+W+S+N.I.Review of polling places

16Review of polling placesE+W+S+N.I.

(1)For section 18 of the 1983 Act (polling districts and places at parliamentary elections) substitute—

18APolling districts at parliamentary elections

(1)Every constituency is to be divided into polling districts.

(2)A relevant authority must—

(a)divide its area into polling districts for the purpose of parliamentary elections for so much of any constituency as is situated in its area, and

(b)keep the polling districts under review.

(3)The following rules apply—

(a)the authority must seek to ensure that all electors in a constituency in its area have such reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances;

(b)in England, each parish is to be a separate polling district;

(c)in Wales, each community is to be a separate polling district;

(d)in Scotland, each electoral ward (within the meaning of section 1 of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004) is to be divided into two or more separate polling districts.

(4)Subsection (3)(b) to (d) does not apply if, in any case, there are special circumstances.

(5)If an alteration of polling districts in an area is made under this section—

(a)the registration officer who acts for the area must make such adaptations of his register of parliamentary electors as are necessary to take account of the alteration, and

(b)the alteration is effective on the date on which the registration officer publishes a notice stating that the adaptations have been made by him.

18BPolling places at parliamentary elections

(1)A polling place is to be designated for each polling district in a constituency.

(2)But subsection (1) does not apply if the size or other circumstances of a polling district are such that the situation of the polling stations does not materially affect the convenience of the electors or any body of them.

(3)A relevant authority must—

(a)designate the polling places for the polling districts in its area, and

(b)keep the polling places in its area under review.

(4)The following rules apply—

(a)the authority must seek to ensure that all electors in a constituency in its area have such reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances;

(b)the authority must seek to ensure that so far as is reasonable and practicable every polling place for which it is responsible is accessible to electors who are disabled;

(c)the authority must have regard to the accessibility to disabled persons of potential polling stations in any place which it is considering designating as a polling place or the designation of which as a polling place it is reviewing;

(d)the polling place for a polling district must be an area in the district, unless special circumstances make it desirable to designate an area wholly or partly outside the district;

(e)the polling place for a polling district must be small enough to indicate to electors in different parts of the district how they will be able to reach the polling station.

(5)If no polling place is designated for a polling district the polling district is to be taken to be the polling place.

18CReview of polling districts and places

(1)Each relevant authority must complete a review under sections 18A and 18B of all of the polling districts and polling places in its area before the end of the period of 12 months starting with the date on which section 16 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 comes into force.

(2)Subsection (1) does not apply in the case of a polling district or polling place (as the case may be) which is designated for the first time during that period.

(3)In such a case, the first review of the polling district or polling place must be completed before the end of the period of four years starting with the date on which that designation is made.

(4)The authority must complete a further review of each polling district and polling place in its area before the end of the period of four years starting with the completion of the previous such review.

(5)Subsections (1) to (4) do not prevent a relevant authority carrying out at any time a review of a particular polling district or polling place.

(6)Schedule A1 has effect in relation to a review.

18DReview of polling districts and places: representations to Electoral Commission

(1)This section applies if in relation to a constituency in the area of a relevant authority a relevant representation is made to the Electoral Commission by—

(a)an interested authority in England and Wales;

(b)not less than 30 electors in the constituency;

(c)a person (other than the returning officer) who has made representations under Schedule A1;

(d)a person who is not an elector in a constituency in the authority's area but who the Commission think has sufficient interest in the accessibility of disabled persons to polling places in the area or has particular expertise in relation to the access to premises or facilities of disabled persons.

(2)A relevant representation is a representation that a review under section 18A or 18B has not been conducted by a relevant authority so as to—

(a)meet the reasonable requirements of the electors in the constituency or any body of those electors, or

(b)take sufficient account of the accessibility to disabled persons of polling stations within a designated polling place.

(3)The returning officer for the constituency may make observations on representations made under this section.

(4)The Electoral Commission must consider such representations and observations and may, if they think fit—

(a)direct the relevant authority to make any alterations to the polling places designated by the review which the Commission think necessary in the circumstances;

(b)if the authority fails to make the alterations before the end of the period of two months starting on the day the direction is given, make the alterations themselves.

(5)Alterations made by the Electoral Commission under subsection (4) have effect as if they had been made by the relevant authority.

(6)An interested authority in relation to a constituency in England and Wales is—

(a)in England, the council of a parish, or where there is no such council the parish meeting of a parish, which is wholly or partly situated within the constituency;

(b)in Wales, the council of a community which is so situated.

(7)The reference in subsection (1)(b) to electors does not include persons who have an anonymous entry in the register of parliamentary electors or local government electors.

18ESections 18A to 18D: supplemental

(1)This section applies for the purposes of sections 18A to 18D.

(2)No election is to be questioned by reason of—

(a)any non-compliance with the provisions of those sections, or

(b)any informality relative to polling districts or polling places.

(3)Each of the following is a relevant authority—

(a)in relation to England, the council of a district or London borough;

(b)in relation to Scotland, a local authority;

(c)in relation to Wales, the council of a county or county borough.

(4)The following do not apply to Northern Ireland—

(a)section 18A(2) to (5);

(b)section 18B(2) to (5);

(c)sections 18C and 18D,

and in Northern Ireland the polling districts and polling places are those for the time being established under the law relating to local elections within the meaning of section 130 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962.

(2)Before Schedule 1 to that Act (parliamentary elections rules) insert—

Section 18C

SCHEDULE A1E+W+S+N.I.Review of polling districts and polling places

1The relevant authority must publish notice of the holding of a review.

2The authority must consult the returning officer for every parliamentary election held in a constituency which is wholly or partly in its area.

3(1)Every such returning officer must make representations to the authority.

(2)The representations must include information as to the location of polling stations (existing or proposed) within polling places (existing or proposed).

(3)The representations must be published in such manner as is prescribed.

4(1)The authority must seek representations from such persons as it thinks have particular expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for persons who have different forms of disability.

(2)Such persons must have an opportunity—

(a)to make representations;

(b)to comment on the returning officer's representations.

5Any elector in a constituency situated in whole or in part in the authority's area may make representations.

6Representations made by any person in connection with a review of polling places may include proposals for specified alternative polling places.

7On completion of a review the authority must—

(a)give reasons for its decisions in the review;

(b)publish such other information as is prescribed.

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Commencement Information

I1S. 16 wholly in force at 1.7.2008; s. 16 not in force at Royal Assent see s. 77; s. 16 in force for E.W.S. at 1.1.2007 by S.I. 2006/3412, art. 3, Sch. 1 para. 14 (c) (subject to Sch. 2); s. 16 in force for N.I. at 1.7.2008 by S.I. 2008/1316, arts. 2(2), 4(a)

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