§ Mr. Love
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what issues are being considered by the Departmental working party on electoral procedures; when it will report to ministers; what account it has taken756W of the recent report from the Select Committee on Home Affairs (HC 768) of Session 1997–98; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
My working party on electoral procedures is currently considering a wide range of issues, under the following broad headings:
- maximising electoral registration and voter participation;
- access by the disabled and homeless to the electoral process;
- rolling electoral registration;
- publication and sale of the electoral register;
- anonymous electoral registration;
- absent voting arrangements;
- polling station and count venue issues (including location, mobile and early polling stations, and security);
- automated voting/counting;
- days and times of polling;
- use of official poll cards, and publicity for elections; civics education and the electoral process; and the role of an electoral commission.
The Government have welcomed the report of the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into electoral law and administration as a valuable contribution to the continuing debate about improving participation in our electoral and democratic processes. The Committee acknowledged that my working party is the correct forum within which to take forward consideration of its proposals, conclusions and recommendations; and accepted that it would be difficult to give a full response while my working party continued to meet. I now anticipate that the final report of the working party will be published this summer, and that the Committee will receive its detailed response at around the same time.