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LOCAL AUTHORITIES TEST NEW WAYS TO MAKE VOTING USER FRIENDLY

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At the local elections on May 4, 35 local authorities will pilot a range of schemes designed to make voting more ac...
At the local elections on May 4, 35 local authorities will pilot a range of schemes designed to make voting more accessible to the public.

In some areas residents will vote by post, in others they will have the chance of voting several days before the final polling day. Electronic voting and counting are some of the other options being explored.

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said: 'We are delighted local authorities are taking the initiative with a variety of schemes which we hope will encourage more people to vote. Increasing turnout at local elections is crucial if we are to promote the value and importance of local democracy, so that more people are involved in shaping the future of their communities.

'Attention will be focussed on the capital on May 4 for the London mayor elections, but this should not overshadow the innovations being tested out in other parts of the country.'

The LGA will be supporting the pilot authorities in their projects, and helping to disseminate the lessons learned to other authorities. The successful pilots were picked from a total of 44 applications, nearly a third of the 154 authorities holding elections in May.

The LGA will also be writing to all local authorities urging them to encourage more people to vote on May 4 and giving examples of how to achieve it.

NOTES

1) Currently local election turnout stands at around 30 per cent.

2) These schemes will get the go ahead with the Representation of the People Bill due to receive royal assent next month.

3) Details of local authorities below.

REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE BILL: PILOT SCHEMES

Approved by the home office

Amber - extend entitlement to postal vote

Blackburn - early voting

Blackpool - early voting

Bolton - all postal ballot

Broxbourne - electronic counting

Bury - electronic voting and counting

Chester - early voting

Coventry - early voting

Doncaster - all postal ballot

Eastleigh - extend of postal vote entitlement

Gateshead - all postal ballot

Gloucester - extend of entitlement to postal vote

Hull - early voting

Knowsley - early voting

Leeds - extend hours of poll

Manchester - early voting

Milton Keynes - extend entitlement to postal vote

Mole Valley - extend hour of poll

Norwich - all postal ballot, mobile polling facility and early voting

Pendle - early voting

Plymouth - early voting

Redditch - early voting

Salford - all-postal ballot and electronic voting

St Helens - early voting

Stevenage - all postal ballot

Stoke - early voting

Stratford - electronic voting

Sunderland - early voting and mobile voting

Swindon - all postal ballot

Telford - early voting

Three Rivers - electronic counting

Warrington - electronic voting

Watford - mobile polling facility, early voting, weekend voting and freepost communications

Wigan - all postal ballot

Windsor - mobile polling facility

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