Political

Early voting pilot for May’s Welsh local elections

Back in the years of New Labour, the government ran an extensive set of pilots to see what might raise turnout in elections. Early voting (letting people vote in person ahead of poling day) came out poorly, a finding that resulted in the idea being dropped, although politicians since have had a habit of overlooking that evidence.

But… that evidence is now a couple of decades old. Which is why news of this pilot from Wales is welcome:

Bridgend County Borough Council voted in favour of participating in the advance voting pilot scheme this May.

A total of seven wards have been selected for the pilot scheme, which will allow voting for the local elections on the Tuesday and Wednesday before polling day on Thursday, May 5.

The initial selection of wards to be part of the scheme was based on those that had the lowest voter turnout during the 2017 local elections…

Another pilot scheme being held during this year’s elections aims to make a difference in the voter turnout of its younger population.

Cynffig Comprehensive School in Kenfig Hill will also be introducing an advance voting pilot by opening a polling station on the Tuesday between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

The purpose of the pilot is to encourage registered students aged 16 and over to vote in advance. [Wales Online]

My guess is that this pilot won’t come to a different outcome from those older pilots. But the whole point of a pilot is to have evidence rather than having to rely on guesses.

So it’s a welcome pilot, especially as in general we need a much stronger culture of experimenting and learning, rather than politicians coming up with perfect plans in theory and then insisting on complete implementation without pause for checking on what is and isn’t really working.

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3 responses to “Early voting pilot for May’s Welsh local elections”

  1. so long as they don’t re- start the daft on-line voting idea.
    A stubby pencil cross( better still 1-2-3) on a piece of paper at the local hall has proven itself reliable over time.
    They could pilot asking people to bring their poll card to the polling station to put into a tombola for a decent prize, now that could be a winner.

  2. Denmark use early voting, I assume they still do. When I was working there staff went to the council office to vote a few days in advance.

  3. “They could pilot asking people to bring their poll card to the polling station to put into a tombola for a decent prize, now that could be a winner.” …. or just put everyone who votes , including PV, in a draw.

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