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Consultation on proposed changes to the Election Law 21 October 2005

    THE Council of Ministers has published a consultation document seeking views on proposed changes to the Island’s election law.

    The proposals are the outcome of reviews of electoral arrangements that started following the 2001 House of Keys general election, when there was concern over decreasing voter turnout.

    They include:
    • Moving the date of the House of Keys general election from November to the last Thursday in September. The consultation paper says the original reason for the November date – because it followed the summer season and the traditional Manx holiday period in October – is no longer valid. But the Council of Ministers does not agree with a 2003 Tynwald Select Committee report that general elections should be held in the Spring, preferably on a bank holiday.
    • Introduction of absent or postal voting for anyone who wants it, following pilot schemes in England and Wales that have improved voter turnout. Prisoners would also be entitled to an absent vote, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.
    • Opening polling stations two hours earlier in the morning so that they are open twelve hours from 8am to 8pm.

    The Council of Ministers consultation document on Proposed Changes to the Election Law is available from the Chief Secretary’s Office, Government Office, Bucks Road, Douglas. An electronic version has been posted on the Chief Secretary’s Office website www.gov.im/cso/election. The deadline for comments is November 11.

    21st October 2005

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