Isle of Man local authority election 'may be as late as October'

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Woman posting her paper into ballot box at polling station
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Local authority elections have been delayed twice due to the pandemic

The next Manx local authority election could be held as late as October, a former government minister has said.

Tynwald members have previously voted to delay the poll, which was due to take place in 2020, until at least July due to the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Former Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas said a decision on the date should be "apolitical".

"We need to do everything we possibly can to have a good, efficient [and] fair election," he said.

The all-island vote, which was initially due to take place on 23 April 2020, was moved again as candidates could not go door-to-door canvassing electors under the current restrictions.

The rescheduled contest will now happen on 22 July "or as soon as is practicable thereafter".

Mr Thomas, who was removed from his ministerial role in May 2020 after voting against a government motion, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that elections for the island's 21 local authorities should be based on the laws approved for the House of Keys general election, which is scheduled to take place in September.

The additional time could be used to encourage more engagement with voters to help boost historically low turnouts, and the new date chosen should not "advantage one group of politicians over another", he said.

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