Edited electoral register - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 06 August 2012 | Standard notes SN06198

Authors: Isobel White

Topic: Elections, Electoral register

The edited version of the electoral register can be sold to anyone. Electors can opt out of having their details included in this version by ticking an ‘opt-out’ box on the electoral registration form. The Labour Government carried out a consultation about ending the sale of the edited version of the register in 2009-10 but made no changes to the current arrangements.

The Electoral Commission and the Association of Electoral Administrators have called for the abolition of the edited register; both organisations believe that the register should only be used for purposes related to elections and referendums. The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee also recently called for the abolition of the edited register in its report on the Government’s proposals for individual electoral registration and other electoral administration provisions. Other organisations, including credit reference agencies, debt collection agencies and direct marketing companies, have argued for the retention of the edited register.

The Government announced during the committee stage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill 2012-13 on 25 June 2012 that the edited register will be retained.

This Note provides brief details of the consultation about the edited register, the recommendation of the PCR Committee and the Government’s decision that the sale of the edited register should continue.

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