commenting on elections in the UK for over 118 years, has welcomed the boost
in turnout in yesterday's local government elections in England.
4% and a step in the right direction,' said Ken Ritchie, chief executive of
the Electoral Reform Society.
'At these elections there were a number of pilot schemes aimed at boosting
turnout. The biggest success seems to have come with the use of all-postal
voting, where turnouts rose by an average of 28% and more than doubled in
many areas. We need to check to ensure that the integrity of the election
has not been compromised.
'The jury is still out on voting methods such as internet, telephone and
text message voting. Turnouts in wards trying these did not jump by any more
than the national average. We need to study the reasons for this in some
depth and perhaps try again next year.'
A report by the Independent Commission on Alternative Voting Methods
(established by the Electoral Reform Society) identified postal voting as
able to increase turnout at a manageable costs with access equal to all.
ELECTIONS 2002 - THE SYSTEM IS STILL FAILING VOTERS
The Electoral Reform Society has condemned the voting system
which continues to deny many voters the councillors and councils they voted
* Labour retained overall control of Croydon LBC, winning 37 seats
on 38% of the vote. The Conservatives won 45% of the votes but just 32
* In Sutton, the Liberal Democrats retained control winning 43 out of
54 seats on just 48% of the vote.
* In Oxford, despite winning nearly 10,000 votes, there was not a
single Conservative councillor elected.
'These elections have proved that the first-past-the-post system denies many
voters the representatives of their choice,' said Mr Ritchie. 'It is an unfair system and should be replaced as soon as possible.
'A voting system should ensure that all significant points of view are
represented in proportion to their strength in the ballot box. It should
mean that the most popular party should at least have a stake in running the
council and that one party should not be able to dominate on a minority of
'In both Scotland and Wales, the devolved institutions have set up
fundamental reviews of the way local government is elected and works. In
Scotland, the review has finished and recommended a move to the proportional
STV system. In Wales, the review will finish in June and a similar report is