Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002
|Territorial extent||Northern Ireland|
|Royal assent||1 May 2002|
|Commencement||1 September 2002|
|Relates to||Representation of the People Act 1983|
Status: Current legislation
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Text of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk|
The Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (2002 c. 13) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which reformed the electoral system in Northern Ireland. The act amended the Representation of the People Act 1983 by strengthening the requirements in the electoral registration process and requiring photographic identification at polling stations.
The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland is the returning officer and electoral registration officer for all of Northern Ireland, and runs the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland, which compiles the Electoral roll and manages all elections in Northern Ireland. In the rest of the United Kingdom, these functions are delegated by local authorities.
Under existing legalisation, the "head of household" was required to register all residents who were eligible to vote. The act changed the registration procedure, introducing Individual Electoral Registration, and requiring eligible voters to provide the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland with their signature, date of birth, National Insurance number and current residence. The act also required voters to present a photographic identity card at a polling station before casting a vote, with the Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card created for voters without an acceptable form of ID.
Introduced to counter lack of public confidence in the electoral process in Northern Ireland, the Act was found to have improved public perceptions, and returning officers also reported a marked reduction in suspected incidences of voting fraud. The implementation was not without costs, however. In August 2002 the last register of electors compiled under the old system contained nearly 1.2 million names, while the first register under the new system, published in December 2002, contained less than 1.1 million names, losing some 120,000 names for a net reduction of 10%.
- "Individual voter ID plan brought forward to 2014". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, 15 December 2004, Impact of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002