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BYERS WELCOMES LATEST FIGURES ON POSTAL VOTING

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Some of the early results from those local authorities running all ...
Some of the early results from those local authorities running all

postal ballots in this week's local elections show good levels of

turnout and in some areas are already exceeding comparable recent

results.

Local government secretary Stephen Byers said:

'These figures show that electoral apathy doesn't rule and that when

voting is made easy and convenient people will take part.

'That has been the motive behind this year's innovations in voting.

We shall analyse the results carefully but the early signs are that

all postal votes are popular with the electorate.'

As part of the government's drive to make voting easier and modernise

the electoral process 30 councils were given approval to run

electoral modernisation pilots in this week's local and mayoral

elections. 13 councils, including all those listed below, are running

all postal ballots. All pilot authorities had to command broad cross

party support for their proposals before getting the go-ahead from

government.

As of 30 April 2002 those authorities running all postal ballots that

have placed information in the public domain have so far received the

following percentage of returned ballot papers.

Local authority Recent turnout % of postal ballot forms

received to date

Chorley 32% 53%

Gateshead 30% 46%

Hackney 34% About 20%

Middlesbrough 29% 34%

Preston (in 2 wards only) 38%, 16% 30%, 22%

South Tyneside 27% 46%

Stevenage 29% 46%

Trafford 33% 42%

The close of poll occurs on 2 May after which more comprehensive

information on turnout and the method of turnout will be available.

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