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HIGHEST TURNOUT DUE TO SIMPLER SYSTEM AND SIMULTANEOUS MAILING

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Chorley BC had the highest turnout in the English local elections, gaining praise from local government minister Ni...
Chorley BC had the highest turnout in the English local elections, gaining praise from local government minister Nick Raynsford.

Chief executive Jeff Davies said the 61% turnout for its all-postal ballot was due to a number of measures.

Mr Davies said: 'We simplified the voting procedure extensively by doing away with declarations of identity and separate envelopes for ballot papers. All we sent out was a ballot paper with instructions and a return envelope. It was extremely simple, constituents could just open it, vote immediately and send it back.'

He added: 'The political parties here aimed their circulation of leaflets for the same weekend we were circulating our postal ballot papers, so constituents had the information from the political parties at the same time. This worked to our advantage.'

Just one week after the first ballots were posted, the council had achieved its 2000 local election turnout of 32%. A reminder was issued to every household the following week, which boosted the votes.

Mr Davies concluded: 'Our pilot scheme enabled us to provide information about where people had voted and this information was available to political parties.'

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