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Postal Voting

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the change in turnout in elections in each local council area in England which held all-postal vote elections on 1 May was when compared with turnout in the previous local council election; and if he will make a statement. [112371]

Turnout at each of the all-postal pilot elections in May 2003 is shown in the table.

Name of authorityYear of comparable electionPercentage of turnout at last comparable electionType of election this time (full/third)Percentage turnout 2003Change in percentage since last comparable election
Blackpool BC200029Whole50.4321
Blyth Valley BC199927Whole52.0025
Bolton MBC200232Thirds42.0010
Brighton and Hove City C199938Whole45.968
Chesterfield BC199935Whole51.6917
Copeland BC199939Whole55.7017
Corby BC199931Whole43.0012
Darlington BC199934Whole51.5417
Derwentside, Chester-le-Street and Wear Valley (Joint Pilot)199931Whole52.4021
Doncaster C200229Thirds47.0018
East Staffordshire BC199934Whole44.9711
Gateshead MBC1200257Thirds54.65-2
Guildford BC199937Whole54.0017
Herefordshire CC199938Whole61.0023
Hyndburn BC200236Thirds51.4715
Kings Lynn and West Norfolk199936Whole47.6612
Lincoln City C200226Thirds47.3321
Newcastle City C200232Thirds49.8318
North Lincolnshire199933Whole51.2818
North Shropshire DC199933Whole47.0014
Redcar and Cleveland BC199937Whole51.5014.50
Rotherham MBC200227Thirds51.3024
Rushcliffe BC199940Whole54.0014
Salford City C200225Thirds41.0016
Sedgefield BC199930Whole44.1514
St. Edmundsbury BC199938Whole38.500
St. Helens MBC200226Thirds48.0022
Stevenage BC1200253Thirds52.20-1
Stockton-on-Tees BC199931Whole52.0021
Sunderland City C200222Thirds46.4624
Trafford MBC1200253Thirds52.39-1
Telford and Wrekin199928Whole48.6519
Wansbeck DC199932Whole50.2018
Comparisons for Gateshead, Stevenage and Trafford are with previous all-postal elections
It is clear that all-postal voting has produced a significant increase in turnout, with an average across all 33 pilots of just under 50 per cent. The Electoral Commission, as required by statute, are evaluating each pilot scheme.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received about abuses in the postal vote system in the May local government elections in England; what steps he is taking to investigate alleged abuses; and if he will make a statement. [112493]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister receives occasional correspondence about concerns with postal voting. Investigation of alleged abuses in the voting system is a matter for the returning officer concerned, the police, and the Crown Prosecution Service.The Electoral Commission is carrying out a full evaluation of all electoral pilots held at the May 2003 local elections, including those involving all-postal voting. They have also completed a review of absent voting. The Government will be considering their recommendations very carefully.