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The Representation of the People (Electronic Communications and Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2018

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Amendment of the Representation of the People Act 1985: absent voting applications following online registration through the UK digital service

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3.—(1) The Representation of the People Act 1985(1) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 6 (absent vote at elections for an indefinite period)(2), in subsection (1)—

(a)in paragraph (bb), at the beginning insert “in the case of an applicant other than one who is or will be digitally registered,”,

(b)after paragraph (bb) insert—

(bba)in the case of an applicant who is or will be digitally registered, the registration officer is satisfied that the application—

(i)is signed, and

(ii)includes the digital registration number allocated to the applicant by the officer,.

(3) After section 6(1) insert—

(1ZA) In the case of an applicant who is or will be digitally registered, if the registration officer is satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable for the applicant to sign in a consistent and distinctive way because of blindness or any other disability of that person or because that person is unable to read, the officer may make a determination to that effect.

(4) After section 6(6) insert—

(7) In this section, a reference to a person who is or will be digitally registered is a reference to a person whose registration in the register of parliamentary electors is or will be pursuant to an application submitted through the UK digital service.

(8) In this section—

“digital registration number” has the same meaning as in section 10B(1) of the principal Act(3);

“the UK digital service” has the same meaning as in section 10ZF of the principal Act, and the reference to an application submitted through the UK digital service shall be construed in accordance with subsection (4) of that section.

(5) In section 7 (absent vote at a particular election and absent voters list)(4), in subsection (1)—

(a)in paragraph (bb), at the beginning insert “in the case of an applicant other than one who is or will be digitally registered,”,

(b)after paragraph (bb) insert—

(bba)in the case of an applicant who is or will be digitally registered, the registration officer is satisfied that the application—

(i)is signed, and

(ii)includes the digital registration number allocated to the applicant by the officer,.

(6) After section 7(1) insert—

(1ZA) In the case of an applicant who is or will be digitally registered, if the registration officer is satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable for the applicant to sign in a consistent and distinctive way because of blindness or any other disability of that person or because that person is unable to read, the officer may make a determination to that effect.

(7) After section 7(5) insert—

(6) In this section, a reference to a person who is or will be digitally registered is a reference to a person whose registration in the register of parliamentary electors is or will be pursuant to an application submitted through the UK digital service.

(7) In this section—

“digital registration number” has the same meaning as in section 10B(1) of the principal Act;

“the UK digital service” has the same meaning as in section 10ZF of the principal Act, and the reference to an application submitted through the UK digital service shall be construed in accordance with subsection (4) of that section.

(2)

Section 6 was amended by paragraph 14 of Schedule 6 to the Representation of the People Act 2000 (c.2), section 3(2) of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (c.13), S.I. 2005/3129, paragraph 134 of Part 7 of Schedule 1 to the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (c.22) and S.I. 2014/1116.

(3)

Section 10B is inserted by regulation 2(5) of these Regulations.

(4)

Section 7 was amended by paragraph 15 of Schedule 6 to the Representation of the People Act 2000 (c.2), section 3(3) of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (c.13) and S.I. 2014/1116.

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