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Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006

Parts 1 and 2: Registration of electors and the Chief Electoral Officer

4.The purpose of these Parts of the Act is to give effect to the proposals put forward in a consultation paper published by the Northern Ireland Office on 5th August 2005 entitled Electoral registration in Northern Ireland: Proposals on the future of electoral registration in Northern Ireland.

5.The Government published its response to the results of this consultation exercise on 24th January 2006.

6.The new electoral registration scheme replaces the annual Northern Ireland canvass with a system of more extensive continuous updating of the Northern Ireland electoral registers (“the register”) in order to enhance comprehensiveness and remove the need for individual electors to re-register every year. It is intended to combat a downward drift in numbers registered and the possibilities for fraud. It builds on the measures introduced by the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (c.13).

7.The Act also amends the statutory terms and conditions of the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland, to bring them into line with terms that are now standard for similar appointments. It restricts the office holder’s tenure, so that a CEO is appointed for no more than five years at a time, and may hold office for no more than ten years in total. It also provides clear criteria for dismissal.

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