Examination of Witnesses (Questions 300-302)|
17 MARCH 2004
FLETCHER MBE AND
Q300 Mr Clelland: Do you think all-postal
ballots are particularly disadvantageous to independent candidates?
Ms Wyeth: The truth is I have
no experience of that and I really would not know, but I do not
like the thought of all-postal ballots. At the moment councillors
can go along to the count and see our votes being counted and
democracy is very evident and very open, and with all-postal ballots
I am not happy about the thought of not being able to go along
and see the votes and make sure that the process is working. I
am not saying it is not working but it is nice to see it working.
Q301 Mr Clelland: Do you think that postal
ballots favour one political party over another?
Ms Fletcher: No. I have done some
research into the result in Stockton and I looked at wards where
there had not been any other factors like a local issue, another
type of candidate coming along, that type of thing, and I did
a comparison between last year and four years before that, and
although obviously the turnout was higher the percentage of the
vote was more or less the same, our wards, two Labour and two
Conservative were active councillors with active campaigning going
off and I thought that was quite interesting. I did wonder, before
we went into it, if it would favour one party or another.
Q302 Mr Sanders: What influences more?
Is it the parties campaigning or the access to the vote? You are
saying you think it is the parties.
Ms Fletcher: In the wards which
were not unfortunately any of our wardswe cannot not campaign;
in some of the other parties' wards there was a general drift
downwards, but I think that was perhaps to do with lack of campaigning.
I do not think it was particularly the postal ballot that did
Chairman: On that note can I thank you
both very much for your evidence. Thank you.