Headlines: May 2nd, 2002

Most people go to the polls today (Thursday, May 2nd) to cast their local election vote in the traditional way – by standing in a booth and marking their choice with a stubby pencil.But pilots for postal balloting this week show that this alternative method of casting votes can raise the turnout – in some cases significantly above comparable figures for traditional voting.

Those running all postal ballots are showing turnouts of between 40 to 50 per cent against previous polling of 25 to 35 per cent.

More comprehensive information about the full impact of postal polling will be known after the close of polls tonight.

As part of the Government’s drive to make voting easier and to modernise the electoral process 30 councils were given approval to run electoral modernisation pilots in this week’s local and mayoral elections.

Thirteen of those councils are running all postal ballots. All pilot authorities had to command broad cross party support for their proposals before getting the go-ahead from Government