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Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006

Section 1: Power to make provision about anonymous registration

25.Section 10 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (c.22) (referred to in these Notes as “EAA”) provides for an elector, whose safety would be at risk if he or she were identifiable from the electoral registers, to apply to be registered anonymously. This provision of the EAA does not extend to Northern Ireland.

26.Section 84(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c.47) enables provision to be made with respect to elections (but not the franchise) and boundaries in respect of district councils in Northern Ireland by Order in Council. Section 1 of this Act modifies section 84(1) to enable anonymous registration to be introduced in Northern Ireland in respect of district, Assembly, European and Parliamentary elections by such an Order. The anonymous registration provisions must correspond or be similar to provisions already contained in the EAA.

27.Section 1 also contains a power to amend primary and secondary legislation where necessary to give effect to the new Northern Ireland anonymous registration provisions. Such a power is needed because the new provisions will need to differ in part from those contained in the EAA in order to take account of the different registration and anti-fraud measures in Northern Ireland.

28.An Order in Council made by virtue of section 1 can only be made after consultation with the Electoral Commission. It must be laid in draft before, and be approved by, both Houses of Parliament. It has the status of primary legislation for human rights purposes.

29.It is intended that the Order will define the criteria to be applied for eligibility for anonymous registration so that only genuinely vulnerable electors will be eligible. The number of people who will be eligible is not expected to be large.

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