East Hampshire voters embrace democracy with a difference
Thursday 21st February 2013
When voters consider their options ahead of Hampshire County Council’s elections in May they will find a wide variety of ways to have their voice heard, increasing turn-out and encouraging engagement in local and national politics.
The traditional polling stations in village halls and council offices have been the mainstay of the electoral experience for many generations.
But now in East Hampshire District Council voters increasingly prefer remote methods such as postal voting.
From the District and Parish elections of 2007, to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November last year, the number of people making use of Postal Voting almost doubled, from 6,939 to 12,837.
Government changes to rules around postal voting, have made it much more accessible. As a result more and more people are choosing the greater convenience of voting from home.
Polling stations are also changing. Thanks to closer links to the community polling stations have now been launched in offices, such as Stroud’s polling station in the used car show-room White Rose, while another has been opened up in a wine bar in Clanfield.
Sandy Hopkins, EHDC’s Chief Executive and Returning Officer, welcomes the move to make it easier for people to vote.
“We are very lucky to live in a nation with a proud history of democracy. It is a privilege we must take good care of and I always welcome any change that engages people with the electoral process,” she said.
“It is a great shame when people don’t vote so I am really encouraged by the increasing popularity of postal voting. I hope that more people will find this a valuable way of taking part in the county council elections which are coming in May.”
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