A MOVE to switch council and European elections to a postal ballot came under fire in Huddersfield today.
The attack was launched after an all- postal ballot was announced for the combined European Parliament and council elections across the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Objectors claimed the surprise decision gave little time to make arrangements for the June 10 poll.
And they feared it could open the door for fraud.
Clr John Smithson, Liberal Democrat deputy leader of Kirklees Council, said: "To make them vote by post can be viewed as a bit of denial of democracy."
Government ministers who revealed the move believe it will boost turnout at the elections.
All-postal ballots had already been announced for the East Midlands and the North-East, but have now been extended to this region and to the North-West.
Clr Smithson, said: "We have concerns about the ability to organise this given the short timescale.
"Also, while alternative forms of voting should be encouraged, a lot of people like to visit the polling station."
This year's poll for Kirklees Council seats is already complicated because of boundary changes.
Every seat will be up for grabs rather than the usual one-third.
Clr Smithson said: "We fear a degree of confusion across the electorate."
The change to an all-postal ballot was announced in a written statement.
Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said: "We are committed to increasing voter participation and all-postal voting offers a useful, practical alternative to traditional polling stations.
"I hope that the pilots announced today will help to make voting easier and more convenient and encourage more people to participate in these elections.
"I am also pleased that the inclusion of both Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West will extend this opportunity to even more people."
Tories predicted a huge administrative nightmare for Kirklees Council.
Clr Robert Light, Conservative group leader, said: "Every local authority in the area objected to an all-postal ballot because of the practical difficulties, but the Government have bludgeoned ahead regardless of the concerns of councils and all political groups.
"It has to be asked why the Government have changed their mind and are implementing these changes.
"I am also concerned, bearing in mind allegations of electoral malpractice elsewhere in postal ballots, that a fair election may not be achievable."
Labour politicians in Huddersfield admitted to mixed feelings today.
Clr Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council's Labour group, said:
"My concern is that June 10 is already a complex election with all the councillors up for election."