Postal Ballot Could Block Griffin
Asian News, Feb. 2
THE post box is being substituted for the ballot box in a bid to block the political advance of the extreme-right wing racist parties in the north west.
The region has been selected as a pilot of an all-postal poll in June’s local council and Euro elections.
The decision means that instead of casting a vote by ballot box at a polling station electors will receive a voting slip by post and will have to return the form by a certain date.
Originally two other regions had been recommended by an electoral commission for the pilot but the north west has been chosen instead.
One reason behind the change is thought to be pressure from local political leaders who are fearful that British National Party chief Nick Griffin might succeed in becoming a Euro-MP in the elections.
A proportional representation system is used in the Euro elections and this favours minority parties. If the BNP collected just over 10 per cent of the votes regionally Mr Griffin would get a seat in the Euro Parliament.
It is also feared that a low turn out in town hall elections could see more BNP councillors,.
Postal votes boost the ‘turnout’ in elections and mainstream politicians hope this may be a means of blocking extreme parties.
Manchester Labour councillor Afzal Khan said the north west postal vote was “good news”.
He said: “The policies of the extreme right pose a serious threat to our democratic values. Their incitement and attempts to whip-up racism, hatred and divisions in the local communities alarms all people of goodwill.”
He added: “Let us remember, it only takes two people to elect a candidate, one to vote and one to stay at home. We must ensure that everyone exercises their democratic right to vote.”
Postal ballots have been used in the past and have greatly increase turnout.
Over 64,000 people voted in Salford’s local elections in May 2003 under a postal system compared to just over 40,000 the previous year.