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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 October 2014 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.
The Committee considered a report on the current status of preparations for the UK Parliamentary General Election, to be held on 7 May 2015.
The Head of Law updated the Committee that paragraph 6.5 of the report should be amended to read ‘7 May 2015’.
The Committee was informed that in order to vote by post at the 2015 UK General Election, postal voters needed to be registered under Individual Electoral Registration (IER). The Electoral Registration Officer was required to delete the postal votes of those electors carried forward onto the 1 December 2014 register who were not IER registered. 1436 Postal Voters were removed in December, although the electors concerned would still be able to vote at polling stations. The Electoral Registration Officer was required to write to these electors inviting them to register under IER enclosing postal voting application forms and Invitations to Register. This process was currently underway.
The Electoral Services Manager commented that all postal voters removed from the register in December 2014 had received at least 3 Invitations to Register before December, and would now be sent a letter saying that they would be removed, and sent a further two further reminders before the election in May. It was clarified to the Committee that of those 1,436 Voters, a number of them may no longer be residents at that address, and the Elections team would have a clearer understanding of the numbers by the end of January.
The Committee was updated on the amended Count arrangements. Provisional arrangements had previously made to count the votes overnight on 7-8 May 2015 at Forest Hill School. However, these arrangements were under reconsideration for a number of reasons. Of major concern was the need to provide and operate a robust personal vote identifier system at close of poll to accommodate postal votes returned by Lewisham based Presiding Officers, and Presiding Officers from three Bromley wards. As a result of the experience of remote postal vote checking in 2010, the Council has since then conducted this on site in the Civic Suite in rooms 1 & 2. To bring all of the postal votes to the Civic Suite, check their personal identifies and then transport the postal votes to Forest Hill to be with the other votes could have the potential to cause delay to the count start.
Given that the Cabinet Office had mandated that the Count must start 4 hours after the close of poll, the Acting Returning Officer had suggested that the use of the ground floor at Laurence House would be sufficient for the count of all constituent parts of the election to be conducted together. The Head of Law further commented that at the local and European elections last year, half of the ground floor had successfully been cleared for a two day period.
The Chief Executive confirmed that during this time the library and access point would temporarily be closed for the duration. Alternative temporary arrangements for the access point and library were currently ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
The Committee considered a report which provided an update on the implementation of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) in Lewisham.
Given that the Electoral Registration Working Party was scheduled to follow directly from the meeting of the Elections Committee, Members were minded to reserve an in depth discussion on the update on IER to the Working Party meeting.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
The Meeting closed at 7.55 p.m.