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Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014

Sections 13-20: Electoral Registration and Administration

71.These sections give effect to commitments made by the Government following its 20 July 2009 public consultation: ‘Improving Electoral Registration Procedures in Northern Ireland’. The Government published its response to this consultation on 24 November 2009. These sections also give effect to recommendations made by the Electoral Commission in its October 2011 report on elections in Northern Ireland and its November 2012 report on the electoral register in Northern Ireland.

72.A number of measures simplify registration and voting procedures, bringing Northern Ireland closer to the system used in Great Britain. In view of reduced concern about electoral fraud in Northern Ireland, the requirement for electors to have been resident for at least three months is abolished. The prohibition on application for an absent vote during the late registration period is also removed. The duty on the registration officer to take certain steps to maintain the register and certain data-sharing powers are extended to Northern Ireland. Provision is made to bring arrangements for setting the canvass form in Northern Ireland closer to new arrangements established for Great Britain, including by making it possible to give the Electoral Commission a role in setting the canvass form. The Secretary of State is given the power to extend to Northern Ireland the performance standards for registration and returning officers used in Great Britain.

73.The Act also includes provision for a number of matters specific to electoral law in Northern Ireland. Changes are made to the nationality declaration for overseas electors in order to adequately reflect the provisions of the Belfast Agreement. There is also provision to close a loophole in the law on electoral identity cards.

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