Memorandum by Councillor Alec Samuels,
Leader of the Conservative Group, Southampton City Council (VOT
The following comments are formally presented
on behalf of the Conservative Group, Southampton City Council.
(a) Individual registration seems the best
approach. It might remind or induce people to vote who otherwise
would not or might not vote. Random checking should always be
(b) If registration is compulsory by law
then it must be enforced. Registration should be by any method
desired by the citizen, provided that the Electoral Registration
Officer (ERO) is satisfied. The register should not be open to
public inspection except for purposes required or permitted by
law. The public should be explicitly and clearly and succinctly
told what the legal position is regarding access.
(c) Those entitled and required to register
should be expected to understand and use English, or find an interpreter
to assist them if need be. The election should be conducted in
(d) Electronic methods should be open to
citizens. The ERO should satisfy himself about security and reliability,
and refuse registration or to accept a vote if not satisfied.
(e) So far as possible citizens with difficulties
eg blind, infirm, disabled, whatever, should be so far as possible
identified by the ERO, invited to contact him, and he should be
required to contact them and even visit them if they need help.
Consolidation of Council information seems sensible provided that
it is required or permitted by law, and provided that personal
details regarding tax and social security re similar matters are
not disclosed to the public.
(f) The public should be explicitly and
clearly and succinctly informed of the uses to which the register
may lawfully be put beyond electoral purposes, and it should be
(g) Any form of registration should be permitted,
provided that it can be validated if the ERO is not satisfied.
ID cards and registration in due course should prove useful here.
The register could be surely based on a variety of criteria.
(h) A national register seems a good idea,
particularly as there is considerable movement of citizens from
one electoral area to another all the time.
(i) The citizen should be entitled to register
and to vote in any way he pleases provided that the ERO is satisfied,
otherwise he should be able to call for validation. It should
not be necessary to have to register for a postal vote. Postal
voting forms should be automatically sent out at every election
to every registered voter.