HOLDING ELECTIONS IN THE ANNUAL
62. During the second annual canvass in the autumn
of 2003, one important problem emerged. After the canvass had
started, it was announced that the Northern Ireland Assembly elections
(postponed from May 2003) would take place within the canvass
period and, as a consequence, the publication of the new register
had to be postponed until February 2004. According to the Electoral
Commission's Official Report on the Assembly elections, this caused
confusion among the electorate, and a significant overburdening
of Electoral Office staff.
63. Holding elections in the period of the annual
canvass causes confusion on the part of the public and places
enormous burdens on election staff. We recommend that the Government
should consider amending legislation to ensure that elections
are not called within the annual canvass period.