Representation of the People Bill - continued        House of Lords

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SCHEDULE 4
 
  ABSENT VOTING IN GREAT BRITAIN
 
Interpretation
     1. - (1) In this Schedule-
 
 
    "the absent voters list" means the list kept under paragraph 5(1) below;
 
    "the appropriate rules" means-
 
      (a) in the case of a parliamentary election, the parliamentary elections rules, and
 
      (b) in the case of a local government election, rules made (or having effect as if made) under section 36 or, as the case may be, section 42 of the 1983 Act;
 
    "local government election" means a local government election in England, Wales or Scotland.
      (2) The 1983 Act and this Schedule shall have effect as if this Schedule were contained in Part I of that Act.
 
      (3) References in an enactment other than one contained in this Act or the 1983 Act to Part I of that Act include a reference to this Schedule.
 
 
Manner of voting at parliamentary or local government elections
     2. - (1) This paragraph applies to determine the manner of voting of a person entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary or local government election.
 
      (2) He may vote in person at the polling station allotted to him under the appropriate rules, unless he is entitled as an elector to an absent vote at the election.
 
      (3) He may vote by post if he is entitled as an elector to vote by post at the election.
 
      (4) If he is entitled to vote by proxy at the election, he may so vote unless, before a ballot paper has been issued for him to vote by proxy, he applies at the polling station allotted to him under the appropriate rules for a ballot paper for the purpose of voting in person, in which case he may vote in person there.
 
      (5) If-
 
 
    (a) he is not entitled as an elector to an absent vote at the election, but
 
    (b) he cannot reasonably be expected to go in person to the polling station allotted to him under the appropriate rules by reason of the particular circumstances of his employment, either as a constable or by the returning officer, on the date of the poll for a purpose connected with the election,
  he may vote in person at any polling station in the constituency or, as the case may be, electoral area.
 
      (6) Nothing in the preceding provisions of this paragraph applies to-
 
 
    (a) a person to whom section 7 of the 1983 Act (mental patients who are not detained offenders) applies and who is liable, by virtue of any enactment, to be detained in the mental hospital in question, or
 
    (b) a person to whom section 7A of that Act (persons remanded in custody) applies,
  whether he is registered by virtue of that provision or not; and such a person may only vote by post or by proxy (where he is entitled as an elector to vote by post or, as the case may be, by proxy at the election).
 
      (7) For the purposes of the provisions of-
 
 
    (a) this Schedule, and
 
    (b) the 1983 Act so far as it has effect in relation to England, Wales and Scotland,
  a person entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary or local government election is entitled as an elector to vote by post or entitled to vote by proxy at the election if he is shown in the absent voters list for the election as so entitled; and references in those provisions to entitlement as an elector to an absent vote at a parliamentary or local government election are references to entitlement as an elector to vote by post or entitlement to vote by proxy at the election.
 
 
Absent vote at elections for definite or indefinite period
     3. - (1) Where a person applies to the registration officer to vote by post at parliamentary elections, at local government elections or at both (whether for an indefinite period or for a particular period specified in his application), the registration officer shall grant the application if-
 
 
    (a) he is satisfied that the applicant is or will be registered in the register of parliamentary electors, local government electors or both (as the case may be), and
 
    (b) the application meets the prescribed requirements.
      (2) Where a person applies to the registration officer to vote by proxy at parliamentary elections, at local government elections or at both (whether for an indefinite period or for a particular period specified in his application), the registration officer shall grant the application if-
 
 
    (a) he is satisfied that the applicant is eligible to vote by proxy at elections to which the application relates,
 
    (b) he is satisfied that the applicant is or will be registered in the register of parliamentary electors, local government electors or both (as the case may be), and
 
    (c) the application meets the prescribed requirements.
      (3) For the purposes of this paragraph a person is eligible to vote by proxy at parliamentary or local government elections-
 
 
    (a) if he is or will be registered as a service voter,
 
    (b) if he cannot reasonably be expected-
 
      (i) to go in person to the polling station allotted or likely to be allotted to him under the appropriate rules, or
 
      (ii) to vote unaided there,
 
    by reason of blindness or other physical incapacity,
 
    (c) if he cannot reasonably be expected to go in person to that polling station by reason of the general nature of his occupation, service or employment or that of his spouse, or by reason of his attendance on a course provided by an educational institution or that of his spouse, or
 
    (d) if he cannot go in person from his qualifying address to that polling station without making a journey by air or sea,
  and a person is also eligible to vote by proxy at parliamentary elections if he is or will be registered in pursuance of an overseas elector's declaration.
 
      (4) The registration officer shall keep a record of those whose applications under this paragraph have been granted showing-
 
 
    (a) whether their applications-
 
      (i) were in respect of parliamentary elections, local government elections or both, and
 
      (ii) were to vote by post or proxy for an indefinite or a particular period (specifying that period),
 
    (b) in the case of those who may vote by post, the addresses provided by them in their applications as the addresses to which their ballot papers are to be sent, and
 
    (c) in the case of those who may vote by proxy, the names and addresses of those appointed as their proxies.
      (5) The registration officer shall remove a person from the record-
 
 
    (a) if he applies to the registration officer to be removed,
 
    (b) in the case of any registered person, if he ceases to be registered or registered at the same qualifying address or ceases to be, or becomes, registered in pursuance of-
 
      (i) a service declaration,
 
      (ii) a declaration of local connection, or
 
      (iii) an overseas elector's declaration,
 
    (c) in the case of any person shown in the record as voting by proxy, if the registration officer gives notice that he has reason to believe there has been a material change of circumstances, or
 
    (d) in the case of a person who applied to vote by post or proxy for a particular period, once that period has expired.
      (6) A person shown in the record as voting by post may subsequently alter his choice by applying to the registration officer to vote by proxy instead (whether for an indefinite period or for a particular period specified in his application); and, if the registration officer would be required to grant that application if it were one made under sub-paragraph (2), the registration officer shall amend the record accordingly.
 
      (7) A person shown in the record as voting by proxy may subsequently alter his choice by applying to the registration officer to vote by post instead (whether for an indefinite period or for a particular period specified in his application); and, if the application meets the prescribed requirements, the registration officer shall amend the record accordingly.
 
 
Absent vote at particular election
     4. - (1) Where a person applies to the registration officer to vote by post at a particular parliamentary or local government election, the registration officer shall grant the application if-
 
 
    (a) he is satisfied that the applicant is or will be registered in the register of parliamentary or, as the case may be, local government electors, and
 
    (b) the application meets the prescribed requirements.
      (2) Where a person applies to the registration officer to vote by proxy at a particular parliamentary or local government election, the registration officer shall grant the application if-
 
 
    (a) he is satisfied that the applicant's circumstances on the date of the poll will be or are likely to be such that he cannot reasonably be expected to vote in person at the polling station allotted or likely to be allotted to him under the appropriate rules,
 
    (b) he is satisfied that the applicant is or will be registered in the register of parliamentary or, as the case may be, local government electors, and
 
    (c) the application meets the prescribed requirements.
      (3) Nothing in sub-paragraph (1) or (2) applies to a person who is included in the record kept under paragraph 3 in respect of elections of the kind in question, but such a person may, in respect of a particular parliamentary or local government election, apply to the registration officer-
 
 
    (a) for his ballot paper to be sent to a different address from that shown in the record, or
 
    (b) to vote by proxy,
  if he is shown in the record as voting by post at elections of the kind in question.
 
      (4) The registration officer shall grant an application under sub-paragraph (3) if-
 
 
    (a) (in the case of any application) it meets the prescribed requirements; and
 
    (b) (in the case of an application to vote by proxy) the registration officer is satisfied that the applicant's circumstances on the date of the poll will be or are likely to be such that he cannot reasonably be expected to vote in person at the polling station allotted or likely to be allotted to him under the appropriate rules.
 
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Prepared 16 February 2000