Ian reported Labours first campaign victory to us . "When I found out that Sedgemoor were planning to just use one polling station in Woolavington for the by-election - and it was the one at the bottom of the hill , I immediatly alerted new Labour leader Kathy Pearce (a former Woolavington resident) who straight away got on to the Chief Executive and convinced them of the unfairness of this and they agreed!"
Cllr Kathy Pearce wrote to Sedgemoor ;-
|Ian Tucker at Woolavington Polling station|
It has been brought to my attention that there will only be one polling station in North Ward (Woolavingon Village Hall) at the Woolavington by-election on 30th September. I believe that this decision has been made for this by-election on cost grounds.
On behalf of the Labour Group, I am writing to protest at this decision on the following grounds:
1. Democracy: The decision is undemocratic in that residents living in the South Ward will be disadvantaged in not having a polling station in their ward. The fact that it is a by-election should make no difference in terms of organising the election to enable as many people as possible to take part in the democratic process. In terms of the demographics within the village, it is obvious that there is potentially a greater potential Conservative vote in the North Ward and I would like to know the criteria for selecting that particular location and who made the decision.
2. Fair Access: This is significant in terms of the steep hill which makes it very difficult for elderly residents or those with disabilities who live at the top of the hill being able to access the polling station at the lower part of the village. I believe that not having a polling station in the Woolavington South Ward sets a dangerous precedent and cost should not be a factor if it prevents residents enjoying their democratic right of going to the polling station and putting their cross on a ballot paper.
I understand that the opportunity to vote by post has been offered to every resident. This is simply not adequate in that there will be some residents who would wish to vote but would struggle to organise their vote in this way.
I am therefore requesting that you review this decision and uphold the principle of providing a polling station in every ward.
|New Sedgemoor Labour leader Cllr Kathy Pearce|
Sedgemoor elections officer Christine Facey wrote back accepting Kathys calls;- "The decision to have only one polling station was made with the good intention of reducing costs. I have now had an opportunity to discuss this with Kerry (Rickards, Chief Executive) , and as historically there have always been two polling stations at Woolavington it has been decided to use both stations for this particular election"