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EDITIONS
Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 02:01 GMT
Sunday voting plans unveiled
Ballot box
Ministers want to adress the problem of low turouts
Ministers are considering plans to allow voting on Saturday and Sunday in a bid to boost polling turnout, it has been confirmed.

Plans for weekend voting rather than just the traditional Thursdays will be outlined in a consultation document, to be published on Monday.

Polling booth
Thursday is not the best time for everyone to vote
Proposals to postpone the English local council and Greater London Assembly elections to coincide with the European Parliament poll will also be included in the document.

But Sunday voting, which would mean officials having to work that day, is likely to upset some religious groups.

The government's aim is to give workers more time to vote.

The Lord Chancellor's Department confirmed proposals to delay the 2004 English local elections and the Greater London Assembly elections currently set for 6 May until 10 June to fit in with the European Parliamentary elections.

Change in law

Yvette Cooper, junior minister in the Lord Chancellor's Department, told The Observer newspaper: "If you have got kids and you go out to work, having the time to vote can be a hassle.

"It shouldn't be a hassle to exercise your democratic rights and that is why we need to look at new ways to fit voting around people's lives."

Weekend voting would require a change in the law but if approved could be in place by the time of the next General Election.

The initiative is the latest in a series of measures to quell the low voter turnout.

The government is already consulting the public and experts about the merits of internet and telephone voting.

Pilot voting schemes, which also included text message votes, were used in the May local elections.

But the Electoral Commission said in August that more pilot projects were needed before the e-voting systems could be used for a national election.

See also:

17 Oct 02 | Politics
21 May 02 | Politics
03 May 01 | Politics
17 Jul 02 | Politics
07 Jan 02 | dot life
29 Apr 02 | dot life
07 May 02 | Politics
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