New technology may be used for elections

VOTERS in Ipswich could get the chance to elect their council by e-mail, telephone, text message, or even satellite television next May.The borough council is set to ask the government to set up an experimental e-voting system in the town for the next elections.

VOTERS in Ipswich could get the chance to elect their council by e-mail, telephone, text message, or even satellite television next May.

The borough council is set to ask the government to set up an experimental e-voting system in the town for the next elections.

The application is set to be endorsed by the council at its full meeting tomorrow.

But it could still be turned down by Whitehall because of opposition within the town.


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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), which is responsible for the government's relations with local authorities, has indicated in the past that experimental voting schemes required cross-party support before they could go ahead.

That is why Ipswich's applications for universal postal voting were turned down – the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats at Civic Centre opposed the move.

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This time the ruling Labour group is hoping that e-voting will get Whitehall's seal of approval.

They believe the ODPM may be able to approve a scheme even if there is opposition.

"I'm disappointed if the Tories are not able to support this proposal because it is extending the choice for voters," said council leader Peter Gardiner.

"But we don't think the government will insist on cross-party agreement this time, although they will consider all points of view," he said.

Conservative councillor Gordon Terry said his group could not support the proposal to be debated tomorrow because it was too vague.

"There are no details about the long-term cost of e-voting, no indication of how it would work or how secure it would be.

"We are in favour of extending choice in voting, but we need to know more about the proposal before we give it our support," he said.

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