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Wigan Gets the Vote
Friday 7th December, 2012

The borough’s electoral register system has been deemed the most robust following an audit of council electoral processes this autumn.

Wigan Council was one of 14 authorities in England, Wales and Scotland who took part in a data matching exercise as part of the government’s new system of individual electoral registration.

Chief executive and borough returning officer Donna Hall explains: “Voting and exercising your democratic rights is a fundamental part of our society and I have regularly urged people to ensure they are on the electoral register. What this study has found is that Wigan Council has the most robust records of all local councils. This means people can have confidence that their data is accurate and we take their right to democracy seriously.”

The Government requires electors’ names and addresses to tally with records held by the Department for Work and Pensions and the DVLA so that identities can be confirmed and suggestions of improper voting information can be eliminated.

Wigan Council’s register was found to be the most accurate of all authorities participating in the pilot scheme. The council’s electoral services team believe that this is because of the method of canvassing they use. Whilst many councils rely on the post, in Wigan Borough, officers carry out a personal canvas of all households each autumn using specially trained staff. Householders can return the form or use the internet – but those that don’t are visited by a canvasser to ensure they have provided the information needed.

Ms Hall paid tribute to the council’s electoral services team. She added: “I’d like to thank staff for their diligence in ensuring our data is well managed. It may be invisible to most voters but the mechanics of delivering an election is essential to our democracy.”

The government says that the process is a reliable way of verifying the identity of people on the electoral register and recommends that the policy should be pursued by all authorities.

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