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Over a fifth of the UK electorate has never voted in local council elections, with the highest rates of non-voting ...
Over a fifth of the UK electorate has never voted in local council elections, with the highest rates of non-voting to be found in the under-35-year-old group, according to an NOP survey published today by Royal Mail.

When it comes to encouraging the electorate to vote, postal voting was identified as the most popular alternative method, particularly by younger voters.

Nearly a third of the UK electorate felt that they would be more likely to vote in local government elections if able to vote by post. Noticeably, this form of voting was seen to be the most effective by the younger age groups, with support from 42% of all 25-34 year olds and 39% of 18-24 year olds.

'Postal ballots give voters a chance to vote in a quick and convenient way,' said Rachel Simpson, Marketing Manager, Royal Mail. 'In today's society, individuals are forced to manage their time more tightly and to prioritise both social and work activities. By introducing flexibility into the electoral procedure, postal voting allows the public to vote at a time more suitable to them.'

In the 24% of the UK electorate who chose postal voting as their first choice of voting method in the future, one in three people claimed convenience factors for their choice. Inconvenience, such as polling times and dates, was quoted as a key reason for poor voting turnout in general.

Average turnout in the May 2000 local government elections reached an all time low of 28.3% - falling to as low as 10% in some areas.* Out of the eight alternative voting techniques that were piloted in the May 2000 elections, evaluation results commissioned by the Local Government Association have shown that all postal voting was the only technique which had a significant impact on levels of turnout.

All applications to pilot all postal ballots must be submitted to the Home Office by 27 October 2000.

* Statistic obtained from the Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre, Plymouth University


The results are based on a telephone survey of nearly 1000 people throughout the UK, commissioned by Royal Mail and conducted by NOP in August 2000.

Royal Mail is part of The Post Office, a global distribution company which distributes mail world-wide, handling 20 billion items of mail each year - more than any other European Mail Service. It has a ground presence in 13 countries.

Through a number of services including e-commerce, direct mail and postal information, Royal Mail helps businesses of all sizes to build lasting and profitable relationships with customers.

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