Ministry of Justice
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Anonymous registration for electors protects vulnerable
Victims of stalking and domestic violence will benefit from new legislation coming into force this week designed to protect people at risk if their details appear on the electoral register.
From June 1 those at risk can apply to their local authority in England and Wales to be registered anonymously while still being able to vote.
Lynne, who suffered seven years of violence and abuse from her ex-husband, said:
"My abusive ex-husband tracked me down to my new address and used to intimidate me by driving up and down the street. It never crossed my mind he may have got my details from the electoral roll. Knowing I can now register anonymously and not lose out on the right to vote will make me, and other people in my situation, feel a lot safer."
Elections Minister Bridget Prentice, said:
"Anonymous registration allows even the most vulnerable member of society to exercise their right to vote while giving them the security and peace of mind to know their identity is being protected."
The new regulations have been produced with guidance from organisations such as Victim Support and Rights of Women.
Ranjit Kaur, Director at Rights of Women, said:
"We know many women who have experienced violence live in fear of being tracked down by the perpetrators through the electoral register. Anonymous registration will make this more difficult and hopefully will allow women to live their lives free from the further threat of violence."
There are strict criteria for registration. Anyone wanting to register their details anonymously must provide evidence such as an order under the Family Law Act 1996 or the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. If an application is granted, the details that appear on the register only have a person's electoral number and the letter N.
Joanna Perry, Policy Manager, Victim Support said:
"Anonymous registration is a big step forward for people who are in fear of their safety, or even their life. We know of situations where a perpetrator has subsequently found the victim and caused considerable distress or further harm, and in some situations killed them.
"So it is vital that victims who live in fear are informed of the option to register anonymously and still participate in the right to vote that is available to us all."
Notes to Editors
1. The Electoral Administration Bill was introduced in Parliament in October 2005 and became an Act in July 2006. For full details of the effects of the Electoral Administration Act visit: http://www.dca.gov.uk/legist/electadmin.htm
2. Copies of the Act are available from http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/20060022.htm