Electoral Systems

Justice written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government) (Housing and Planning), Co-Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department has made a recent estimate of the cost of holding a general election using (a) the existing electoral system and (b) the alternative vote system.

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Government have now made the Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officers' Charges) Order 2010. From the information set out in that order it can be estimated that in Great Britain if the forthcoming general election is held on 6 May 2010 and therefore combined with other elections to be held on that day, the cost of the conduct of the poll would be £82.1 million; if it is held at any other time, the cost of the conduct of the poll would be £89.6 million.

We have not carried out a detailed assessment of the possible cost of conducting a general election under the alternative vote system. However, the features of a general election using the alternative vote system would broadly be the same as under the existing system: for example, in terms of the provision of ballot papers and polling stations. The count process might take longer in some cases, where no candidate wins outright on the first round; however, recounts may already extend the time taken to count under the existing system.

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