David Lidington said:
At Committee Stage in this House I committed to share electoral administration rules (conduct rules) with Hon Members. Today I have published them in draft form, and deposited copies in the Libraries of both Houses. We intend to consult the Electoral Commission on the draft rules over the summer and would welcome views from Hon Members during this period.
The draft rules are modelled on the rules used for the administration of the Parliamentary Voting System referendum in May 2011 and those used for elections more generally, in particular UK Parliamentary elections, adapted as necessary for the referendum.
They include the range of provisions that are necessary for the administration of the referendum, including the manner of voting (which covers voting in polling stations, voting by post or by proxy), the form of the ballot paper and other forms used by voters, the appointment of polling and counting agents, the arrangements for the counting of votes and declaration of results, and the disposal of ballot papers and other referendum documents after the poll.
The draft rules take into account recent changes to electoral law and are designed to support the effective administration of the poll. This includes changes to enable ballot papers to be sent to overseas voters further in advance of polling day. Alongside practical steps we are taking elsewhere, this will address some of the issues faced by electors abroad at the 2015 General Election.
The rules largely cover the administration of the referendum in the United Kingdom though in some areas the provisions apply to Gibraltar.