Voting Behaviour

Electoral Commission Committee written question – answered on 27th March 2014.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made on the viability of permitting people to vote in any polling station in their constituency or local authority area.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

The Electoral Commission informs me that permitting people to vote electronically at any polling station within a specific ward or local authority area was piloted by a number of English local authorities between 2002 and 2007 as part of the previous UK Government's electoral pilot scheme programme.

The Commission's statutory evaluation of the pilot schemes concluded that while some people welcomed the convenience of “vote anywhere” polling stations, the impact on turnout was minimal and there were significant technical problems associated with the facility in some areas.

The Commission has recommended that there should be no further piloting of electronic voting—including “vote anywhere” polling stations—without the development of a wider electoral modernisation strategy, which should take account of the specific risks related to electronic voting, as well as its cost-effectiveness and likely impact on public trust.

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