Policy paper

The governance of Britain June 2008

This publication was published under the 2005 to 2010 Labour government

This document contains the following information: Election day weekend voting

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This Command Paper is part of a series of documents looking at constitutional and electoral issues whose objectives and aims are set out in the original Green Paper (Cm. 7170 - The Governance of Britain, ISBN 978010171021). There is a perception that Thursday is not the most accessible day for voting and that changing to weekend voting would improve access and opportunities. This consultation paper aims to promote debate on the merits of moving the election day from Thursday to the weekend, and on the best way to do this, for UK Parliamentary general elections, local elections in England and Wales and European Parliamentary elections. In particular, the paper looks at: pertinent issues including religious concerns; whether any move would impact upon the security of elections; the relationship between absent voting (eg postal voting) and election day; to what extent the mechanisms for voting - for example, remote voting through postal votes, use of the internet or telephone - would be acceptable alternatives to those for whom weekend voting would present difficulties; what people perceive as the benefits and drawbacks of remote e-voting; whether changing the day would incentivise non-voters to vote; whether any possible additional costs of weekend voting (which may range between £38 million and £58 million per national election) are outweighed by any potential benefits. The results from this consultation will be fed into a citizens’ summit which will consider the issue in detail and make a recommendation to Parliament.

This Command Paper was laid before Parliament by a Government Minister by Command of Her Majesty. Command Papers are considered by the Government to be of interest to Parliament but are not required to be presented by legislation.