Bill to Make provision for the appointment of observers at statutory elections and referendums in the United Kingdom; to make provision in respect of the observers; and for connected purposes (first reading on 16 July 2003)

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Make provision for the appointment of observers at statutory elections and referendums in the United Kingdom; to make provision in respect of the observers; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Introductory

1 Introduction

(1) In this Act

"election" shall mean a time when people vote in order to choose someone for a political or official job

"referendum" shall mean a vote in which all the people in a country or an area are asked to give their opinion about or decide an important political or social question

"observer" shall mean a person who watches what happens but has no active part in it

"registered elector" is a person listed to vote in a particular area

"electoral process" the process which leads to an election taking place

"polling day" shall mean the day when people vote in an election

"polling station" shall mean the place where people vote

"postal votes" shall mean a system of voting in which people send their votes by post

"counting of votes" shall be when all the votes cast for different candidates or for different proposals are counted and a result declared

"counting centre" shall mean the place where votes are counted

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations substitute a new definition of "election", referendum", "observer", "registered elector", "electoral process ", "polling day", "polling station", "postal votes", "counting of votes", or "counting centre" for the definition in subsection (1).

Election and referendum observers

2. (a) The Representation of the People Act 1983 schedule 1 (Parliamentary Elections Rules) section 32 shall be amended by the insertion of the following text:

(f) representatives of the Electoral Commission

(g) election observers approved by the Returning Officer for the area in which the election is being held.

(h) a person under 18 accompanying a registered elector to observe a registered elector involved in part of the electoral process.

(b) The Representation of the People Act 1983: Schedule 1 (Parliamentary Elections Rules) section 44 (2) shall be amended by the insertion of the following text:

(e) representatives of the Electoral Commission

(f) election observers approved by the Returning Officer for the area in which the election is being held:

That consequent amendments be made to the following legislation:

Local Elections (Principle Areas) Rules 1986 Rule 26 (1) & Rule 38 (1-3)

Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) Rules 26 (1) & Rule 38 (1-3)

Representation of the People (England & Wales) Regulations 2001

Representation of the People (Scotland) Regulations 2001

Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2001

The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc) Order 1999

The Greater London Authority Elections (No 2) Rules 2000

Election and referendum observers regulations

4. The Secretary of State may by regulations ("election and referendum observation regulations") makeany provision which the Secretary of State considers appropriate—

to establish a detailed code regulating the operation of election and referendum observation which would cover but not be limited to:

who may apply to be an observer

how to apply to be an observer

form of permission

extent of access

secrecy requirements

impartiality requirements

maintenance of order requirements

interference in the electoral process, and

finance.

Short title

5. This Act may be cited as the UK Elections (Observers) Act 2003.