» Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Postal Ballots

Asked if the Government would be judging the success of the postal ballot pilots purely on the question of turnout or on the level of fraud, the PMS said that as she had told journalists this morning, postal ballot pilots which had been run in the past had shown no greater evidence of fraud than in the more traditional ways of voting. It went without saying that the Government would condemn absolutely anyone behaving fraudulently or attempting to influence the way in which people voted. The idea of a postal vote was to try to encourage greater voter participation. There were four pilots in these elections, the results of which would be evaluated afterwards. This would include examining the level of fraud that had taken place. Asked if the idea of postal ballots would be abandoned if the level of fraud was found to be high, the PMS said that it was pointless to debate hypothetical scenarios at this stage. The elections were tomorrow. People should exercise a little patience and wait for the results. The allegations which had already been raised were being investigated, as you would expect. She reminded journalists that offences relating to personation carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. These things were clearly taken very seriously. Asked if the Government’s aim was to have an all-postal ballot at a future General Election, the PMS said she was not aware of any plans to take the idea forward to that degree at this stage. At the moment, we were looking at ways to encourage people to participate in the electoral system.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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