Now that nominations for the Parliamentary and District elections have been submitted we can move on to the next set of tasks. One of the most important will be to deliver a leaflet to postal voters. I have not been as involved in a campaign since 1983. During the Blair years I was concentrating on rebuilding a career that had suffered because of my earlier activism. Not surprisingly I’ve found that much has changed in the intervening years. Postal votes are one of them.
In the 1970s and 1980s only those too frail to attend a polling station, or could prove that they were working away, were entitled to a postal vote. The voters in the old people’s homes were important and my Aunt Jenny, probably improperly, energetically used to organise all the votes in her care home in Cardiff.
Today anyone can secure a postal vote and the numbers of postal voters has increased dramatically. 14% of voters in our best Labour area of North Walsham now vote by post and this proportion is not untypical. Moreover postal voters are much more likely to vote. We expect the ballot paper to be delivered to them shortly before the weekend of April 24th so they have plenty of time to fill in and return their form. This makes early contact with them more important and this will become even more pronounced when we, inevitably, move to electronic voting over the Internet.