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POSTAL VOTING - LGA CONGRATULATES COUNCILS

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The Local Government Association has today congratulated those councils involved in this year's all-postal voting p...
The Local Government Association has today congratulated those councils involved in this year's all-postal voting pilots during the local elections.

Responding to the Electoral Commission's evaluation report entitled `Delivering democracy? The future of postal voting', Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the LGA said:

'Although a great deal of media attention focussed on negative issues that councils had no direct control over, the hard work and dedication of their employees ensured that 99.24 per cent of postal ballot papers were despatched by the deadline. The LGA does, however, wish that government had paid more attention to concerns raised about the practicalities of piloting the process over such vast areas thus giving councils very little time to prepare.

'There is no doubt that both postal and proxy voting can play an important role in ensuring greater participation in the democratic process, but it is crucial that voters are given a choice of how they wish to vote including voting in person at a polling station. There is a fundamental need for added security and secrecy measures to stamp out fraud in postal voting and staffed delivery points must be set up for those members of the public who wish to vote at home but return their ballot in person. A move away from household to individual voter registration is just as crucial to enable individual voters to check that their individual ballot has arrived.

'Ultimately the challenge for politicians, both national and local, is not simply to make it easier for people to vote but to give people a reason and a cause to vote for'.

The LGA is also calling for fraudulent applications of postal or proxy voting to be made arrestable offences.

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