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Postal Ballots

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average voter participation rate was in the areas where a postal ballot was (a) held and (b) not held in local elections. [130459]

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Electoral Commission published their evaluation of the 2003 local electoral pilots on 31 July. According to their report, the average voter turnout across all local elections in 2003, including results from elections held on a pilot basis, was 34.9 per cent. The average turnout at elections where all-postal voting pilots were held was 49.4 per cent.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many trial postal ballots have been conducted in local elections; where they were held; and how much each one cost. [130460]

Sixty-eight all-postal elections have been held since May 2000.In the May 2000 local elections, seven all-postal ballots were held in Bolton, Doncaster, Gateshead, Norwich, Stevenage and Swindon.In the May 2002 local and mayoral elections, 13 all- postal ballots were held in Chorley, Crawley, Gateshead, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Middlesbrough, North Tyneside, North West Leicestershire, Preston, South Tyneside, Stevenage and Trafford.In the May 2003 local elections, 33 all-postal ballots were held in Blackpool, Blyth Valley, Bolton, Brighton and Hove, Chesterfield, Copeland, Corby, Darlington, Doncaster, East Staffordshire, Gateshead, Guildford, Herefordshire, Hyndburn, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Lincoln, Newcastle, North Lincolnshire, North Shropshire, Redcar and Cleveland, Rotherham, Rushcliffe, Salford, Sedgefield, St. Edmundsbury, St Helens, Stevenage, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland, Trafford, Telford and Wrekin, Wansbeck and Derwentside, Chester-le-Street and Wear Valley who held a joint pilot.In addition, Hackney and Stoke-on-Trent held all-postal ballots in their mayoral elections in October 2002, whilst all-postal ballots took place in 13 local authority by-elections during this period. These were: Aberdeenshire, Caldicot, Doncaster, Durham, Eden, Hackney, Kerrier, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Newcastle, Stirling, Telford and Wrekin, Trafford and West Wiltshire.No central funding has been given to authorities conducting all-postal ballots.