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The Law Commission is the statutory independent body created by the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law under review and to recommend reform where it is needed. The aim of the Commission is to ensure that the law is:

  • fair
  • modern
  • simple
  • as cost-effective as possible
 
Nicholas Paines QC

Nicholas Paines QC

Reforming electoral law across the UK

Electoral law in the UK is spread across 25 major statutes. It has become complex, fragmented and difficult to use. These days we might be asked to vote at the same time for a range of representatives – our MP, MSP or MLA, Welsh or London AMs, MEPs and our local councillors. And all these types of election bring with them their own rules.

Working with the Scottish and Northern Ireland Law Commissions, we have launched a consultation, asking how aspects of electoral law should be reformed. We look at a range of issues, including the way elections are managed, how notice of elections is given, how voters are registered and when an election can be challenged. We make provisional proposals for reform, based on two principles:

• the laws governing elections should be rationalised into a single, consistent  legislative framework, and
• electoral laws should be consistent across all types of election.

Law Commissioner Nicholas Paines QC, leading the project for England and Wales, said: "Elections are fundamental to democracy. They are the mechanism by which citizens exercise their democratic rights.

"It is clear that electoral law is in need of reform. Inconsistencies and ambiguities risk undermining the credibility of our electoral process. The law must be simplified, modernised and rationalised so that it can be more easily understood and used by administrators and candidates, and public confidence in electoral administration can be strengthened.”

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