Monday, 25 June 2012

Government commits to next stage of second home voting ban

Congratulations to North Cornwall Lib Dem MP Dan Rogerson who has secured a commitment from the government to the next stage of the ban on second home voting.

The Electoral Review Panel, which I chair, has persuaded Cornwall Council to lead the way in clamping down on people using second homes to register to vote - potentially influencing elections in areas where they have little real connection.

But this action relies on the register of those claiming a council tax discount for their second home. With the creation of the right for council's to charge full council tax on second homes, there were potentially challenges ahead.

So Dan asked Cabinet Officer minister Mark Harper to introduce a section on the voter registration form asking about other properties that the elector owns or occupies and the minister agreed to move forward with this as part of the fraud-busting change to individual voter registration.

This is good news for clean and fair elections, but it is also good news for councils wanting to better plan their services. Cornwall Council has already decided to seek to maintain a second homes register so that it can better understand the demographics and demands on its services. The change to the electoral registration form will, potentially, make this a lot easier and more accurate.

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