Tag Archives: weekend voting

Weekend voting: not ruled in, not ruled out

As part of Parliament’s deliberations over the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, this week the House of Lords debated the possibility of moving to weekend voting.

In The two electoral tests the Coalition should run, I made the point that,

Weekend voting has been once briefly trialled (in Watford a decade ago). It was not a success then, but there are good reasons to try again given the details of how the trial was conducted – especially holding the weekend elections just after the usual national round of local elections, with the result that residents in Watford were seeing in all the national

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The two electoral tests the Coalition should run

During 2011, the political reform agenda is likely to be dominated by a spring referendum on the alternative vote and by the government fleshing out its promise to bring in elections by proportional representation for an elected Upper House. Significant though the impact of both the alternative vote and Upper House elections may be, there are two much smaller ideas the government should look to pilot during the year because a healthy democracy also requires healthy turnouts; 2011 should see weekend voting and increasing the number of polling stations tested out.

Raising turnout in public elections is a widely …

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Parliament debates electoral administration

On Wednesday last week Parliament had a Westminster Hall debate on the subject of electoral administration, triggered by Meg Munn, the Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley. Sheffield was one of the areas particularly badly affected by the problems with people queuing to vote at 10pm on polling day, and it was this issue which dominated her opening remarks. Citing the Electoral Commission’s views on the matter, she urged the government to change the law to enable those who are still queuing at 10pm to be allowed to vote in future.

This proposal received support from other MPs during the debate …

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Weekend voting gets another push from Jenny Watson

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Electoral Commission chair Jenny Watson repeated the Commission’s interest in seeing a switch to weekend voting:

Flexible election schedules, including opening the polls for entire weekends, should be considered to make the system more relevant to 21st century life, she said.

These comments echo strong public support for weekend voting, support from a Liberal Democrat front bencher, Lord (Chris) Rennard, and previous Electoral Commission statements.

In the interview, Jenny Watson also gave her support to the much more controversial issue of looking again at online voting, expressed doubts about how many general …

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Strong public support for electoral reform, weekend voting and fixed term Parliaments in new poll

The public overwhelmingly backs major  changes to the way our electoral system is run according to a new poll commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

Just under two-thirds of people (65%) agree that, “This country should adopt a new voting system that would give parties seats in Parliament in proportion to their share of votes” and 59% support holding a referendum on changing the voting system used for Parliament. That later number is particularly strong given Gordon Brown’s strong support for the idea; usually having an unpopular high profile figure back a policy makes it less popular.

But the strongest support …

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Should election voting switch to weekends?

Last year I speculated that weekend voting may be the next trend in efforts to raise turnout:

Weekend voting has been discussed for a long time. Back in 1991, for example, the all-party Hansard Society’s report Agenda for Change discussed moving voting to a Sunday and highlighted that the Society of Local Authority Chief Exeuctives (SOLACE) backed this idea. Similarly, in 1997, the Home Affairs Select Committee recommended that weekend voting should be tested out.

Partly as a result of this, the system of election pilots that was then put in motion by the 1999 Home Office Working Party on Electoral

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Weekend voting: will this be the next trend in trying to raise turnout at elections?

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

Over the last few years a wide range of attempts have been made to raise turnout at elections in the UK. The broad conclusion is very simple: all-postal ballots raise turnout significantly (albeit at the cost of various drawbacks) and nothing else that has been tried does so. E-voting, early voting, voting by text, and many others: all been tried, all flopped.

However, there are signs that moving to voting at the weekend may be coming back on the electoral administration agenda.

It is easy to see why weekend voting may appeal. Fewer people work at the weekend which could mean people are more likely to have time to go and vote, plus in turn candidates are more likely to be able to get volunteers out campaigning on polling day reminding people to vote.

The main drawbacks are also fairly straight-forward.

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Reassuring words to find in a government consultation paper

“The consultation paper considers several questions but in particular looks at:

  • Pertinent issues…”

Phew, that’s a relief. (Page 3 of the Election Day – Weekend Voting consultation paper if the knowledge that it contains content relevant to its subject hasn’t put you off.)

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