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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 13:22 GMT
Digital voting to fight apathy
Person using interactive digital TV
A pilot project which will see people in Swindon casting their votes via cable TV in the May local elections, could help reverse the trend in young voter apathy.

Eligible voters will be given a PIN number and the chance to take part in an e-voting pilot scheme via interactive digital television, the internet, telephone and special kiosks.

Cheltenham-based digital TV company MultiMedia Television Plc (MMTV) will create the voting system for Swindon Borough Council in partnership with the Athena Consortium.

Angus Drever, CEO of MMTV, said: "Reversing the gradual decline in voter turn-out at general and local elections is vital for the health of the UK democratic process.

Increase in voting

"Digital TV is most subscribed to by the 18-30 audience - the most apathetic voter group.

"We believe, it will play an integral role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the electoral process - turning on, not off, the public."

Swindon Borough Council was selected to run the pilot after it first used voting via telephone and the internet in the country's largest pilot in elections last year, resulting in a 3.6% increase in voting.

It is one of 18 councils to have been selected by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to trial various types of electronic voting in what will be the largest pilot in Europe.

Those who prefer to physically put pencil to paper can still pay a trip to the polling station or use the postal method.

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