West Somerset Council slammed over electoral list

West Somerset Council slammed over electoral list

West Somerset Council slammed over electoral list

First published in News

MORE should be done to ensure everyone entitled to vote in West Somerset is on the register of voters, it is claimed.

The announcement comes as West Somerset was accused with four other South West authorities of not doing enough to ensure that voter lists are as accurate as possible.

The district authority, and Taunton Deane, Mid Devon, Torridge and West Devon councils, were criticised in Parliament for not carrying out enough door-todoor checks last year to make sure its register is as accurate as possible.

The overall response rate to the 2013 canvass in West Somerset was 92%, compared to the average response rate in England of approximately 94%.

Since 2008, 90 council officials have failed in at least one year to meet the Electoral Commission's standards for door-to-door canvassing.

Labour MP Chris Ruane told the political and constitutional reform committee a ‘lackadaisical’ approach by some councils has resulted in millions of people across the country being unable to vote.

He said that as a result, nearly six million people have disappeared off the electoral register.

A West Somerset spokesman said the council now shares an electoral services team with Taunton Deane and is working with the Electoral Commission on implementing Individual Electoral Registration when a full door-to-door enquiry service will be rolled out.

They said: “West Somerset has carried out door-to-door canvassing in its most populated areas. “However, the district covers a substantial and very rural area, including part of Exmoor, and has historically found it extremely difficult to find recruits willing to carry out the work.

A source close to West Somerset Council said: “This is ridiculous.

“I hope it’s sorted and next year the standards are met.”

Voters in England and Wales will be able to register online this summer.

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