§ Mr. William Ross
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will now make it his policy, in the light of reports that persons were refused ballot papers at the local government elections in Northern Ireland on 17 May because they could not produce one of the specified documents to prove their identity, to make arrangements to seek the views of(a) the Northern Ireland political parties and (b) the staff employed by the chief electoral officer on that day as presiding officers and poll clerks, and to have an accurate count taken of persons refused a ballot paper for that reason at the European Economic Community elections on 15 June;
(2) if, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Londonderry, East of 16 May Official Report, column 164, he has sought from the political parties in Northern Ireland, or from the staff employed by the chief electoral officer for Northern Ireland, any evidence as to whether any persons did not possess any of the documents necesary to prove their identity when going to vote at recent elections in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
[holding answer 22 May 1989]: I should be happy to consider any evidence or views which the Northern Ireland political parties may wish to submit to me. Polling station staff have not been asked to maintain records of persons arriving at polling stations without the required proof of identity, nor is there any statutory authority for them to do so. The chief electoral officer makes every effort to remind electors of the need to have in their possession one of the specified documents when they come to vote. I understand that it is his intention to give further publicity to this requirement during the run-up to the European parliamentary elections.