Thursday 23 October 2008

The Electoral Commission

The conduct of elections has been a concern in many countries over recent years. In the UK the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 created the Electoral Commission. It is an independent body - members of staff may not be appointed if they have been politically active in the previous ten years - a restriction which has received much criticism. The Political Parties and Elections Bill will address this criticism (http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2007-08/politicalpartiesandelections.html - 2nd Reading was given this Monday, but this will be a carry over bill.

The task of the commission is to -
  • register political parties
  • make sure people understand and follow the rules on party and election finance
  • publish details of where parties and candidates get money from and how they spend it
  • set the standards for running elections and report on how well this is done
  • make sure people understand it is important to register to vote, and know how to vote
  • make sure boundary arrangements for local government in England are fair
The Commission's informative website can be found at http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/. Any serious student of British Politics - and anyone engaged in political activity withinthe UK - needs to visit this site!

A House of Commons paper on the Commission is available at http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-03127.pdf