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Representation of the People Bill
 
 

 
 
A

B I L L

[AS AMENDED ON REPORT]

TO

Make new provision with respect to the registration of voters for the purposes of parliamentary and local government elections; to make other provision in relation to voting at such elections; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

  PART I
  ELECTORAL REGISTRATION AND FRANCHISE
 
New system of registration
New system of electoral registration.     1. - (1) For sections 1 and 2 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 ("the 1983 Act") there shall be substituted-
 
 
"Parliamentary electors.     1. - (1) A person is entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary election in any constituency if on the date of the poll he-
 
    (a) is registered in the register of parliamentary electors for that constituency;
 
    (b) is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart);
 
    (c) is either a Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; and
 
    (d) is of voting age (that is, 18 years or over).
      (2) A person is not entitled to vote as an elector-
 
 
    (a) more than once in the same constituency at any parliamentary election; or
 
    (b) in more than one constituency at a general election.
Local government electors.     2. - (1) A person is entitled to vote as an elector at a local government election in any electoral area if on the date of the poll he-
 
 
    (a) is registered in the register of local government electors for that area;
 
    (b) is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart);
 
    (c) is a Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a relevant citizen of the Union; and
 
    (d) is of voting age (that is, 18 years or over).
      (2) A person is not entitled to vote as an elector-
 
 
    (a) more than once in the same electoral area at any local government election; or
 
    (b) in more than one electoral area at an ordinary election for a local government area which is not a single electoral area."
      (2) For section 4 of the 1983 Act there shall be substituted-
 
 

"Entitlement to registration
Entitlement to be registered as parliamentary or local government elector.     4. - (1) A person is entitled to be registered in the register of parliamentary electors for any constituency or part of a constituency if on the relevant date he-
 
 
    (a) is resident in the constituency or that part of it;
 
    (b) is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart);
 
    (c) is either a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; and
 
    (d) is of voting age.
      (2) A person is not entitled to be registered in the register of parliamentary electors for any constituency in Northern Ireland unless, in addition to complying with subsection (1) above, he has been resident in Northern Ireland during the whole of the period of three months ending on the relevant date.
 
      (3) A person is entitled to be registered in the register of local government electors for any electoral area if on the relevant date he-
 
 
    (a) is resident in that area;
 
    (b) is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart);
 
    (c) is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a relevant citizen of the Union; and
 
    (d) is of voting age.
      (4) The preceding provisions have effect-
 
 
    (a) subject to-
 
      (i) any enactment imposing a disqualification for registration as a parliamentary, or (as the case may be) local government, elector; and
 
      (ii) compliance with any prescribed requirements; and
 
    (b) (as respects registration as a parliamentary elector) without prejudice to section 2(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1985 (registration of British citizens overseas).
      (5) A person otherwise qualified is (despite subsection (1)(d) or (3)(d), as the case may be) entitled to be registered in a register of parliamentary electors or local government electors if he will attain voting age before the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the 1st December next following the relevant date, but-
 
 
    (a) his entry in the register shall give the date on which he will attain that age; and
 
    (b) until the date given in the entry he shall not by virtue of the entry be treated as an elector for any purposes other than those of an election the date of the poll for which is the date so given or any later date.
      (6) In this section-
 
 
    "qualifying Commonwealth citizen" means a Commonwealth citizen who either-
 
      (a) is not a person who requires leave under the Immigration Act 1971 to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or
 
      (b) is such a person but for the time being has (or is, by virtue of any enactment, to be treated as having) any description of such leave;
 
    "the relevant date", in relation to a person, means-
 
      (a) the date on which an application for registration is made (or, by virtue of section 10A(2) below, is treated as having been made) by him;
 
      (b) in the case of a person applying for registration in pursuance of a declaration of local connection or a service declaration, the date on which the declaration was made."
 
Disfranchisement
Disfranchisement of offenders detained in mental hospitals.     2. After section 3 of the 1983 Act there shall be inserted-
 
 
"Disfranchisement of offenders detained in mental hospitals.     3A. - (1) A person to whom this section applies is, during the time that he is-
 
    (a) detained at any place in pursuance of the order or direction by virtue of which this section applies to him, or
 
    (b) unlawfully at large when he would otherwise be so detained,
  legally incapable of voting at any parliamentary or local government election.
 
      (2) As respects England and Wales, this section applies to the following persons-
 
 
    (a) any person in respect of whom-
 
      (i) an order has been made under section 37, 38, 44 or 51(5) of the Mental Health Act 1983, or
 
      (ii) a direction has been given under section 45A, 46 or 47 of that Act;
 
    (b) any person in respect of whom an order has been made under section 5(2)(a) of the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964; and
 
    (c) any person in respect of whom the Court of Appeal has made an order under-
 
      (i) section 6(2)(a) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, or
 
      (ii) section 14(2)(a) of that Act.
      (3) As respects Scotland, this section applies to the following persons-
 
 
    (a) any person in respect of whom an order has been made under section 53, 54, 57(2)(a) or (b) or 58 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995; and
 
    (b) any person in respect of whom a direction has been given under section 69 of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984 or section 71 of that Act (being a person to whom that section applies by virtue of subsection (2)(a) of that section) or section 59A of that Act of 1995.
      (4) As respects Northern Ireland, this section applies to the following persons-
 
 
    (a) any person in respect of whom-
 
      (i) an order has been made under Article 44, 45, 50A(2)(a) or 57(5) of the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, or
 
      (ii) a direction has been given under Article 52 or 53 of that Order; and
 
    (b) any person in respect of whom the Court of Appeal has made an order under-
 
      (i) section 11(1)(b) or (2)(b) of the Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) Act 1980, or
 
      (ii) section 13(5A) of that Act.
      (5) As respects any part of the United Kingdom, this section applies to any person in respect of whom an admission order has been made under-
 
 
    (a) section 116B of the Army Act 1955 or the Air Force Act 1955, or
 
    (b) section 63B of the Naval Discipline Act 1957.
      (6) In this section any reference to a person in respect of whom any order or direction falling within subsection (2), (3) or (4) has been made or given includes a reference to a person in respect of whom any such order or direction is, by virtue of any enactment, to be treated as having been made or given in connection with his transfer to a place in the part of the United Kingdom mentioned in that subsection.
 
      (7) Any reference in any of subsections (2) to (4) above to a provision of any Act or Order includes a reference to any earlier provision (whether of that Act or Order as originally enacted or made or as previously amended, or otherwise) to the like effect."
 
 
Residence for purposes of registration
Residence for purposes of registration: general.     3. For section 5 of the 1983 Act there shall be substituted-
 
 
"Residence: general.     5. - (1) This section applies where the question whether a person is resident at a particular address on the relevant date for the purposes of section 4 above falls to be determined for the purposes of that section.
 
    (2) Regard shall be had, in particular, to the purpose and other circumstances, as well as to the fact, of his presence at, or absence from, the address on that date.
 
  For example, where at a particular time a person is staying at any place otherwise than on a permanent basis, he may in all the circumstances be taken to be at that time-
 
 
    (a) resident there if he has no home elsewhere, or
 
    (b) not resident there if he does have a home elsewhere.
      (3) For the purpose of determining whether a person is resident in a dwelling on the relevant date for the purposes of section 4 above, his residence in the dwelling shall not be taken to have been interrupted by reason of his absence in the performance of any duty arising from or incidental to any office, service or employment held or undertaken by him if-
 
 
    (a) he intends to resume actual residence within six months of giving up such residence, and will not be prevented from doing so by the performance of that duty; or
 
    (b) the dwelling serves as a permanent place of residence (whether for himself or for himself and other persons) and he would be in actual residence there but for his absence in the performance of that duty.
      (4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above any temporary period of unemployment shall be disregarded.
 
      (5) Subsection (3) above shall apply in relation to a person's absence by reason of his attendance on a course provided by an educational institution as it applies in relation to a person's absence in the performance of any duty such as is mentioned in that subsection.
 
      (6) Subject to sections 7 and 7A below, a person who is detained at any place in legal custody shall not, by reason of his presence there, be treated for the purposes of section 4 above as resident there."
 
Residence: patients in mental hospitals who are not detained offenders or on remand.     4. For section 7 of the 1983 Act there shall be substituted-
 
 
"Residence: patients in mental hospitals who are not detained offenders or on remand.     7. - (1) This section applies to a person who-
 
    (a) is a patient in a mental hospital (whether or not he is liable to be detained there), but
 
    (b) is not a person to whom section 3A above or section 7A below applies.
      (2) A person to whom this section applies shall (subject to subsection (5) below) be regarded for the purposes of section 4 above as resident at the mental hospital in question if the length of the period which he is likely to spend at the hospital is sufficient for him to be regarded as being resident there for the purposes of electoral registration.
 
      (3) A person registered in a register of electors in pursuance of an application for registration made by virtue of subsection (2) above is entitled to remain so registered until-
 
 
    (a) the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the date when the entry in the register first takes effect, or
 
    (b) another entry made in respect of him in any register of electors takes effect (whether or not in pursuance of an application made by virtue of subsection (2)),
  whichever first occurs.
 
      (4) Where the entitlement of such a person to remain so registered terminates by virtue of subsection (3) above, the registration officer concerned shall remove that person's entry from the register, unless he is entitled to remain registered in pursuance of a further application made by virtue of subsection (2).
 
      (5) Subsection (2) above shall not be taken as precluding the registration of a person to whom this section applies-
 
 
    (a) by virtue of his residence at some place other than the mental hospital in which he is a patient, or
 
    (b) in pursuance of a declaration of local connection.
      (6) In this section "mental hospital" means any establishment (or part of an establishment) maintained wholly or mainly for the reception and treatment of persons suffering from any form of mental disorder; and for this purpose "mental disorder"-
 
 
    (a) in relation to England or Wales, has the same meaning as in the Mental Health Act 1983,
 
    (b) in relation to Scotland, has the same meaning as in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, and
 
    (c) in relation to Northern Ireland, has the same meaning as in the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986."
 
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