Belfast Telegraph

Report backs new way to update electoral register

Centrally-held Government records could help improve the accuracy of electoral registers across the UK, a report on Northern Ireland's experience said.

Using details from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which oversees benefits and elderly support, would help maintain the completeness of the roll without having to repeatedly contact electors, according to the Electoral Commission.

Data matching was used in Northern Ireland during a canvass for the register last year. A commission report said the results indicated that matching electoral registration information against DWP data and local records could help maintain levels of accuracy of registers.

"Learning from the experience of the chief electoral officer in Northern Ireland, particular consideration will need to be given to how EROs (electoral registration offices in local authority areas) in England, Scotland and Wales can access centrally available data such as that held by DWP on an on-going basis, in addition to the publicly held data at a local level that they are already able to access," the report said.

"Availability and access to such data will require input from Government, the commission and the information commissioner."

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