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GOVERNMENT URGED TO RE-THINK PROPOSALS TO SELL ELECTORAL REGISTER

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The Electoral Commission has told the government that it is opposed to proposals contained in draft regulations whi...
The Electoral Commission has told the government that it is opposed to proposals contained in draft regulations which would allow for the continued sale of the electoral register to commercial organisations.

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.

The commission has also urged the government to re-think its proposals to provide an edited register. In the view of the commission, if such a register is developed, it should be on the basis of electors having to positively 'opt in' to having their details sold. The government currently proposes that electors details be included unless they 'opt out'.

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 .

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