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Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014

Section 18: Chief Electoral Officer: Duty to Take Necessary Steps

94.In Great Britain, registration officers are subject to the duties in section 9A, RPA 1983, which provides that each registration officer must “take all steps that are necessary for the purpose of complying with his duty to maintain the registers”. Section 9A does not currently apply to Northern Ireland. Instead, the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland is subject to the “relevant registration objectives” which are set out in section 10ZB of the RPA 1983. These are “to secure, so far as reasonably practicable –

a)

that every person who is entitled to be registered in a register is registered in it,

b)

that no person who is not entitled to be registered in a register is registered in it, and

c)

that none of the required information (name, address, date of birth, signature, national insurance number) relating to any person registered in a register is false.”

95.In its 2012 report, the Electoral Commission recommended that section 9A be extended to Northern Ireland. Subsection (1) extends the duty to take necessary steps to Northern Ireland and subsection (2) makes consequential amendments.

96.Subsection (3) makes amendments to section 9A which are required once amendments to that section are made by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 come into force. It makes clear that the duty to take steps applies in Northern Ireland in relation to all three registration objectives, rather than the two requirements which apply in Great Britain; the Chief Electoral Officer has a duty to take necessary steps to ensure that none of the required information relating to any person registered is false, as well as that all those entitled to be registered (and no others) are registered. Subsection (4) makes consequential amendments.

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