Absent Voting

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered at on 6 March 2024.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2024 to Question 14837 on Absent Voting, how are postal ballot sweeps are undertaken; and what guidance is provided to Returning Officers.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2024 to Question 14837 on Absent Voting, whether postal ballot sweeps will be undertaken at local delivery offices on the evening of (a) 2 May 2024 and (b) General Election polling day.

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Royal Mail conducts ‘sweeps’ of all primary (and where requested, secondary) mail centres on the evening of polling day by identifying and pulling out postal vote envelopes, which are specially marked to support this process. All incoming mail collected from post-boxes goes via the delivery offices and should be at the mail centres later that day, before sweeps take place. Any postal vote envelopes pulled out at mail centres are provided directly to the relevant local returning officers. Royal Mail liaises directly with each local elections office regarding the organisation of postal ballot sweeps.

Guidance on working with Royal Mail and other mail delivery partners is provided by the Electoral Commission and is available on their website (https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/guidance-returning-officers-administering-local-government-elections-england/planning-election/managing-contractors-and-suppliers/working-mail-delivery-partners).

Sweeps for Police and Crime Commissioner and UK Parliamentary elections are paid for centrally from the Consolidated Fund and are planned for the Police and Crime Commissioner and local elections on 2 May 2024 and for the next UK Parliamentary general election.

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