HC Deb 27 February 1997 vol 291 c330W
17. Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the integrity of the process of compiling electoral registers in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [16376]

Mr. Ancram

Reassessment of the methods used to effect accuracy is a constant feature of compiling the Northern Ireland electoral register. Uniquely in the UK, Northern Ireland's registration process is not dependent upon a postal return, as all registration forms are collected personally by canvassers. In addition, the Northern Ireland registration form, in contrast to the rest of the UK, seeks previous addresses to enable entries on the register to be cross checked. Also, over the past three years, the chief electoral officer has developed a computerised absent vote register to identify possible abuses of the system.