RE: Verifying Petition Signatures
The need to be registered on the electoral roll will not apply because there is no lower age limit to either organising or signing a petition.
In terms of signature verification, I was involved in a similar conversation with IT colleagues this morning. We've decided to try to keep it as simple as possible, not least because signature verification, whichever way you do it will be potentially very time consuming. That would apply to both paper and E-petitions. Therefore, we will only carry out random or targetted signature verification if we suspect cases of 'petition rigging' of some sort.
Even if we do suspect some sort of malpractice, it will be difficult to prove because a petition can be signed by anyone who lives works or studies in the area, and trying to disprove any of those requirements would probably take more time than it was worth. Additionally, in Blackpool we are allowing signatures from visitors to the town in relation to a visitor attraction type thing - which will be virtually impossible to check up on and we accept that. However, for E-petitions our IT system is probably going to incorporate a simple tick box requirement as to whether the signatory works, lives or studies in the area (and / or).
We will or course publish a caveat within our model scheme that we reserve the right to carry out signature verification, and if we start to suspect examples of widespread funny business, we'll revisit it.
In terms of your actual question Peter (sorry, I nearly missed that!), if we do actually decide to attempt any signature verification, we will write to a petition signatory seeking clarification of validity in the case of a paper petition, and send a similar Email in the case of an E-petition.