Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Wednesday, 15 September 2010 13:32 UK

Individual electoral registration

Cabinet Office Minister Mark Harper has announced that British citizens will be asked to register individually to vote from 2014.

In a statement to the Commons on 15 September 2010 he said it was time to end the current system whereby one person from each household is responsible for submitting the names of all those eligible to vote in their property.

Household registration relies on the assumption that the electoral roll lists eligible voters only but has come under criticism recently due to its vulnerability to fraud.

Supporters of individual registration argue it strengthens engagement with the voting process.

The Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 made provision for changing to individual registration and the Coalition Agreement includes a commitment to speed up the process.

Individuals would register using "personal identifiers" such as date of birth and signature.

Individual registration replaced household registration in Northern Ireland in 2002.

A draft Bill on the measure will be introduced in 2010/11 for pre-legislative scrutiny, followed by a Bill to introduce individual registration from 2014.

Replying for the government Shadow Justice Secretary Jack Straw said the announcement was being made for "purely party political reasons", and warned that the Northern Ireland experiment led to a drop in registrations.

Labour's Fiona MacTaggart and Conservative Philip Hollobone both criticised Mr Harper for saying that people would not be "forced" to register.

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