A BT-led consortium hopes to encourage more of the electorate to vote by rolling out e-voting to 600,000 potential voters during this May's local elections. Voters in Sheffield, St Albans, Ipswich, Norwich and South Somerset, will be offered the chance to vote via the internet, telephone, text messaging or kiosks.
The pilot scheme is being funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as part of the government's program to modernise voting and encourage a higher turnout by making it more convenient for people to vote. With this in mind it will include initiatives to encourage youngsters, disabled people and commuters to vote.
It will also involve outreach activities like mock elections in schools, mobile bus tours to explain the new voting methods and demonstrations of e-voting in popular locations like pubs and supermarkets.
"We are delivering a 21st century voting system to meet the needs of 21st century lifestyles," says BT's Andy Hudson.
The telco says its package can be rolled out to offer national e-voting, as planned by the government, and will include elements such as smartcards, pre-registration and an electronic electoral register.