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7th May 2024

Solace Statement on the Local Elections 2024

The whole team at Solace would like to express our sincere gratitude for the hard work of Returning Officers and their elections teams up and down the country in ensuring the smooth and safe running of the latest round of elections.

Mark Heath, Solace lead spokesperson for Elections and Democratic Renewal, commented on these achievements saying: “Returning Officers across the country have once again done a brilliant job to successfully deliver the latest set of local elections, covering more than 2,655 seats across 107 English councils, 11 metro mayoral elections and 37 PCC elections across England and Wales. Alongside their elections teams, not only have Returning Officers managed multiple polls across varying geographies with a range of different voting systems, they have also managed the implementation of a tranche of complex reforms from the Elections Act 2022 while, as always, ensuring the safety of electors, candidates and staff.

“Elections have long been hugely administratively complicated to deliver, and the implementation of additional processes and requirements such as Voter ID, postal and proxy vote handling rules and the enfranchisement of overseas voters requires even greater risk management. The hard work and meticulous planning for elections teams never stops, with the next focus being the upcoming General Election, where larger voter turnouts are likely to amplify these challenges in unpredictable ways and create considerable strain in the system in terms of ensuring teams have enough people to deliver elections safely, securely, and in a timely manner. That is why we are calling for the Government to:

  • Modernise electoral legislation into a single Consolidated Elections Act to simplify the core processes and timetable while reflecting the divergent approaches of all four UK nations;
  • Conduct a review of the reforms introduced with the Elections Act 2022 to assess the Act’s impact on the delivery, inclusiveness, effectiveness and security of elections;
  • Provide indemnity for returning officers for all polls in full;
  • Create a single national electoral register, exploring an automatic or online registration system.”