Magazine article Public Finance

'Electoral Roll Should Not Be Sold'

Magazine article Public Finance

'Electoral Roll Should Not Be Sold'

Article excerpt

Election officers believe companies should be legally prevented from gaining access to the personal details in the electoral register, according to a survey published this week.

The survey, conducted jointly by the Local Government Association and the Association of Electoral Administrators, shows that more than 98% of election officers believe the law should be changed to stop direct marketing companies buying access to an edited version of the register.

The survey backs up the conclusion of the governmentcommissioned Data Sharing Review led by information commissioner Richard Thomas and Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust. Their July report also recommended stopping the sale of electoral registers.

Richard Kemp, LGA deputy chair, said town halls resented having to pass the electoral roll on to direct marketing companies. 'Most people hate junk mail and cold-calling and councils don't want to be a part of the process that generates money for junk mail companies in this way,' he said.

'Selling the electoral roll undermines democracy, dissuades people from voting and gives people the impression that the council is profiting from selling their personal information. …

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