VOTER turnout in yesterday's council elections was up an average of 9% on last year to 40%, it was reported today.
The four regions taking part in trials of all-postal ballots recorded turnout up 13% on last year.
But even in areas without all-postal voting the figure was up by 7%.
There has been wide- spread concern in recent years over voter apathy.
The 2001 General Election saw turnout slump to below 60%, the poorest showing since the 19th century.
The all-postal ballots seem to have had a significant effect on the number of voters taking part in the local and European Union elections in the four trial areas - Yorkshire and Humberside, the North- East, North-West and East Midlands.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott defended his decision to press ahead with all-postal ballots, saying 1m extra votes had been cast in trial areas by Wednesday.