LIBERAL Democrats in Gateshead have opposed moves to force residents to vote by post rather than at a polling station in elections.
Gateshead Labour councillors voted to scrap polling stations at the meeting of the Council held on Thursday 7th June.
But Liberal Democrat councillors called for people to have the choice of voting by post or at a polling station.
“This is an issue about freedom of choice,” said Liberal Democrat Councillor Peter Maughan.
“Whilst many people prefer voting by post, there are many others who do not trust postal voting.
“And whilst there was no evidence of voter fraud in Gateshead in past elections, there have been high profile and serious examples elsewhere.
“Furthermore, it is impossible to know how much pressure one dominant individual puts on other members of the same household to vote in a particular way as postal voting loses the secrecy you get at a polling station.
“Liberal Democrats therefore voted against the call to scrap polling stations.”
Councillor Jonathan Wallace said, “The government are very unlikely to grant Labour’s request in Gateshead. They have already ruled out all postal voting generally because of the problems of fraud.
“And I doubt they will agree to Gateshead’s request that they should be made a special case.”
All postal voting was last used in an election in 2004 when the local and Euro elections were held on the same day. The system nearly collapsed as it could not cope with the huge task of getting ballot papers to residents.
Postal votes had to be delayed whilst emergency measures were introduced to solve the near breakdown in the postal vote system.