Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

HIGH INTEREST IN THE MAY 2003 ELECTORAL PILOT PROGRAMME

  • Comment
A record 63 local authorities have applied to participate in...
A record 63 local authorities have applied to participate in

the May 2003 electoral pilot programme, with over a third intending

to test e-voting and e-counting technology, local government minister

Nick Raynsford announced today.

With this increased high level of interest in holding pilots, and

e-pilots in particular, this year's programme will be the most

extensive yet, involving nearly 6.8 million electors if all the

applications were approved. In comparison, the May 2002 pilots

covered around 2.5million electors.

In welcoming the news of the number of applications, Mr Raynsford

said:

'The level of interest and enthusiasm shown by authorities is very

encouraging. The widespread readiness to pilot new and innovative

approaches to holding elections will benefit voters by testing ways

to make elections more straightforward and accessible. Our electoral

pilot programme is an important step towards achieving our aim of an

e-enabled general election post-2006.'

Of 63 applications received, 19 are for e-voting pilots, 7 more

involved e-counting, and 37 involved all-postal ballots. E-voting

applications are proposing using many different ways of voting,

including interactive digital television, SMS text messaging,

touch-tone telephones, the Internet and voting at electronic kiosks.

Following consultation with the independent Electoral Commission,

announcements on which pilots have been accepted are expected later

this month for non e-voting pilots, and by mid-January for the

remainder.

If all applications were accepted, then nearly 4.2 million electors

would be covered by all-postal ballot pilots, over 1.6 million by

e-voting pilots, and a further 1million by other types of pilot,

including extended voting hours.

The large number of applications to hold pilots in May 2003 will have

an impact on piloting at local authority by-elections. To focus our

efforts on the main pilot programme, the government does not

anticipate approving any requests for piloting at local authority by-

elections that are to be held between 1 January and 31 March 2003.

Notes

1. A prospectus was sent to all local authorities in England and

Wales on 27 September inviting them to participate in the May 2003

electoral pilot programme. The closing date for applications was 29

November.

2. Earlier pilot schemes have been run in May 2000 and May 2002.

There have also been a number of by-election pilots too. The

Electoral Commission is responsible for reporting on each pilot.

Copies of their reports are available on their website:

http://www.electoral-commission.gov.uk

3. Copies of the prospectus, including an application and the

Government's response to the Electoral Commission's report on the May

2002 pilots are available at:

http://www.local-regions.odpm.gov.uk/elections/

4. The main focus of this pilot programme will be to extend the pilot

schemes to authority- wide level, and to look at schemes that have

not been piloted, or specific issues that have not yet been tested

fully. In particular, councils are encouraged to focus on one of the

following categories:

- voting through electronic media

- e-counting (as part of an e-enabled package)

- all-postal voting (especially proposals for testing alternative

fraud prevention and security arrangements), other innovative

procedures and ideas about the electoral process

5. The general policy on local authority by-election pilots is that

the government expects to approve proposals, including e-voting, for

pilots only in certain circumstances. These are when the proposals

meet the standard criteria set out in the September 2002 prospectus

and contain innovative features or were from authorities that had run

pilots before and were seeking to apply the same scheme to another

election.

6. In all cases, it is important for local authorities to make any

application as early as possible given the tight timetable for

by-elections. Local authorities may wish to submit outline proposals

in advance of an application for a specific by-election.

ANNEX A

HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT

Tuesday, 10 December 2002

LOCAL ELECTION PILOT SCHEMES

Mr Raynsford

The Government is looking at many ways, including e-voting, to

modernise our electoral system and to increase the opportunities that

people have to vote. To test the robustness of the new options and to

build public confidence in them, we are promoting an extensive

programme of pilot innovations at local elections.

In September we, in conjunction with the Electoral Commission and the

Local Government Association, published a prospectus inviting

applications from English and Welsh local authorities to apply to run

electoral pilots at local elections in 2003. The closing date for

applications to run pilots in the May 2003 local elections was 29

November 2002.

I am pleased to announce that we have received 63 applications from

authorities wishing to participate in this pilot round. Of these, 19

are proposing to hold e-voting trials, 7 other applications include

e-counting, and 37 involve all-postal ballots. 7 authorities propose

testing other variations to the normal electoral process, including

extensions to the voting hours.

The May 2003 pilot applications cover nearly 6.8million electors. In

comparison, the May 2002 pilots covered 2.5million electors.

The level of interest and enthusiasm shown by authorities is very

encouraging. The widespread readiness to pilot new and innovative

approaches to holding elections will benefit voters by testing ways

to make elections more straightforward and accessible. Our electoral

pilot programme is an important step towards achieving our aim of an

e-enabled general election post-2006.

Following consultation with the independent Electoral Commission, we

expect to announce our decision on which non e-voting pilots have

been approved later this month, and the decision on the remainder by

mid-January 2003.

With this high level of interest shown by local authorities, our

focus in the earlypart of 2003 will be on undertaking with the

successful applicants the extensive groundwork necessary for them to

hold their pilots. As a result, we do not anticipate giving approval

to any requests for piloting at local authority by-elections that are

to be held between 1 January and 31 March 2003.

Outside that period, our general approach on local authority

by-election pilots is that we would be minded to approve proposals,

including e-voting, for pilots only in certain circumstances. These

are when the proposals meet the standard criteria set out in our

September 2002 prospectus and contain innovative features or are from

authorities that had run pilots before and are seeking to apply the

same scheme to another election. We will, of course, consider

carefully any application that is made.

In all cases, it is important for local authorities to make any

application as early as possible given the tight timetable for

by-elections. Local authorities may wish to submit outline proposals

in advance of an application for a specific by-election.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.