HC Deb 19 January 2004 vol 416 c993W
Mr. Tynan

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of levels of voter turnout at the recent Assembly elections; what research he intends to commission to study the reasons for this; and what measures he is considering adopting to improve turnout. [147532]

Mr. Spellar

The turnout for the 2003 Assembly election was 63.1 per cent., which compares to a figure of 68.8 per cent. for the previous Assembly election in 1998.

The Electoral Commission, which has responsibility for promoting public awareness of electoral matters, held a one-day seminar on the 7 January to hear views from stakeholders about the administration of the Assembly election. The public have also been invited to contact the Commission with their views on the election.

I understand that the Commission intends to publish a report on the election before the end of April 2004. The report will cover all aspects of the recent election including voter turnout. The Government will study the report carefully when it is received.