The government announced yesterday it would be backing more e-voting pilot schemes in the next local elections, allowing people to vote from the comfort of their armchair.

Around 1.5 million voters across 18 councils will be given the chance to vote electronically in their local election this May.

"The pilots are an important step towards our aim of holding an e-enabled election sometime after 2006," said government minister Nick Raynesford.

But security fears and the threat of identity theft have still not been resolved, putting many people off the idea of voting online. In last May’s trial internet voting did little to improve turnout.

If the government really intends to meet its 2006 general election deadline then it is going to have to work hard at convincing empathetic voters that 'e-voting' will make a difference.

The Electoral Commission, which has been critical of this deadline in the past, is still not convinced voters are ready to move to e-voting.

"We need to find a way to make voting as easy as possible and we need to pilot hundreds of these schemes before we can even think about putting e-voting in place for a general election," said a spokesman at the Commission.

Prospective voters will receive forms about voting options containing personal identification numbers to prevent them voting more than once.