Published on May 7th, 2015 | by admin

Millions Have Cast Their Vote Using Postal Voting

Approximately 40,000 polling stations are open today from 7am to 10pm to enable people to cast their vote in today’s general election by voting in person. Whilst the majority will select who they want to be the Prime Minister for the next five years using this method, a significant minority will have already cast their vote having opted to vote by post.

Postal voting popularity

Postal voting was first introduced as an option for the 2000 general election, made possible by the Representation of the People Act. Only individuals registered to vote and who completed the application for postal voting ahead of deadline are entitled to do so this time round.

Here at the Post Office Shop we’ve learnt that 6,996,006 postal ballot papers were issued for the 2010 general election equating to 15.3 per cent of the electorate which was an increase of 1,633,505 on the number who cast their vote by post in 2005.

Indications are that postal voting has risen sharply in popularity this time round. For example in Newcastle alone, 65,000 people have apparently registered to vote by post which is a higher number than ever before representing approximately 30% of the electorate.

For those voting in person today, each voter must present a poll card at the appropriate polling station where they will be given a ballot paper on which to mark their vote. The ballot paper will list the candidates in alphabetical order who are standing in that respective constituency.

To be counted, votes sent by post in envelopes have to be returned so that they arrive before 10pm on polling day. Judging by trends in postal voting over the past three general elections when this was an option for the electorate, voters in the North-east are almost four times as likely as voters in the South-west to vote by post.

Voting in the future

Bearing in mind how easy it is to shop and bank online these days why can’t the same be said when it comes to casting a vote in the general election? Security concerns have been cited as the main stumbling block with fears that online voting could be manipulated by hackers. However the demand to do so is certainly there.

According to the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, two thirds of those who didn’t vote in 2010 (67 per cent), would have done so if they could have cast their vote online. Pilots of various e-voting methods are expected to be trialed during the next parliament with a view to making e-voting possible in time for the general election in 2020.

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