Sunday, May 20, 2007

Farce if councillor who 'won' with fewer votes...

The case of the missing ballot box has turned to farce. It has now been proved that one of the councillors returned to South Holland District Council on 3 May polled fewer votes than a candidate who "lost". But the distorted result stands!

When it became known that all the votes from one ballot box had not been included in the original count, a court gave permission for the sealed container of ballot papers to be opened.

A recount which took place last night changed the result in the Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas Ward.

As Returning Officer and Chief Exec at the Council Terry Huggins explains - in language that only a Returning Officer could use -

This recount indicates a different relative ranking between the candidates from the result of the poll declared on the 3/4 May, 2007. This being a three member ward, of most significance is the changed position to the ranking of the candidates ranked third and fourth.
What he means is that Jim Astill who was returned as being elected by one vote at the official count, actually polled seven fewer votes than Angela Harrison who was not elected.

Terry Huggins points out that the recount does not in itself change the declaration he made.

What he means is that Jim - the loser who really won - remains duly elected. And Angela -the winner who really lost - does not!

Only a successful election petition to the High Court can change the cocked-up result.

It seems farcical that only candidates or their agents can make the costly petition to the High Court - not the people who made the mistake.

Since Jim and Amanda are both Conservatives, the cock-up does not affect the political control of the council.

It seems unlikely that either they - or the Conservative Party - will go through the expensive High Court process.

So justice will not be done.

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