For about a fifth of voters the campaign is nearly over
You might have thought that there’s more than a month to go in this election but early next week the first postal voting packs will be going out and people will start voting in GE2015.
The actual day that the postals will be dispatched varies from one council area to another. Generally those where the general election is the only one which is taking place on May 7th will get them out earlier.
In some areas there are local council elections being held at the same time and it is likely that it could take a bit longer for the ballot papers to be compiled, printed and packed.
Where I live in Bedford we will have up to five separate elections taking place. As well as for our MP we are voting for our elected mayor, local and in some wards parish councillors, as well as a referendum on whether to pay more council tax to fund more police officers. Inevitably this means that the postal voting packs will take longer to prepare and we’ve been told to expect them two weeks today.
The experience is that most postal voters get their ballots completed and popped into the post within a couple of days.
What this means, of course, is that for a sizeable proportion of the electorate the general election is nearly over. For once you’ve voted that’s it
So if there is a late change in the political mood, like there was in 1992, it won’t impact on postal voters who’ve returned their ballots.
It was reckoned that the reason the Liberal Democrats were able to hang onto Eastleigh in the by-election two years ago was because they got the postal voters campaign sorted much faster than their opponents.
Postal voting has an impact on polling for many who are sampled for surveys in the final two or three weeks will already have voted. Theoretically this should make the polls more accurate.
Time folks is running out.