The government proposes that the full register should be sold to credit reference agencies and an 'edited' register should be available for general sale. The commission believes it wrong in principle for personal data which is collected compulsorily, for electoral purposes, to be sold. The commission is concerned that the commercial exploitation of this data will seen by many as a disincentive to register and so be detrimental to the democratic process.
Sam Younger, chairman of The Electoral Commission said: 'We have urged government to re-think its proposals for the sale of electoral registers which we believe to be wrong in principle. The registration of voters is an essential part of our democratic process and to exploit the information provided for commercial purposes could well discourage registrations.'
* The commission's full response to the government can be view on its website .