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Agenda item

Report by the Returning Officer (C4411)

Purpose: To inform Council of the results of the Local Elections held in May 2023 and any issues concerning the conduct of the elections.


Council considered the report (agenda item 22) that informed Council of the results of the Local Elections held in May 2023 and any issues concerning the conduct of the elections.


MOTION: Proposed by the Chief Executive, Nigel Lynn, as Retuning Officer to resolve that Council notes the report.


The Chief Executiveinformed that the Coronation of the King had compressed the time to undertake the count and it was ambitious to do it in a day but he was pleased to report that this had been achieved. Staffing of the elections continued to be an issue but the voter ID ran smoothly and 99.8% of electorates brought their ID. An issue that continued to cause a problem was the Royal Mail and officers continued to engage with them to make improvements. He thanked all staff for their excellent efforts in running a successful election process.


Councillor Jeff Brooks thanked the Returning Officer and all the staff that worked on the elections. It was an excellent job getting the district and parish elections counted and results given on the same day. With regards to voter ID, there had been a lot of tax payers money spent on promoting this new system. He felt that this was not required as it sought to solve a problem that was not there, he did not support the introduction of voter ID. He also reiterated the concern that the Royal Mail had let down some voters.


Councillor Dominic Boeck reiterated the excellent job that had been done on the elections. He said he had been involved in many elections and the staff performed extremely well providing advice in advance, running the elections on the day and performing the count with due diligence.


Councillor David Marsh said that he agreed with the comments made so far and especially the Elections Team that did an excellent job. The polling stations in his ward were very busy and the staff did a very good job helping people with voter ID but the report did highlight a number of voters that were not able to vote because of this and was concerned how many did not vote because of voter ID. This was a national issue that had been highlighted and had affected local voters. He recommended that this be raised with our local MPs, the LGA and the Electoral Commission.


Councillor Nigel Foot raised the issue of postal votes and said that it was a scandal that some votes had arrived late and thus had not been counted and as Councillor Marsh had said there was also the issue of non-voters because of voter ID. Some of the voters that had been disenfranchised may have been residents with mobility issues who could not get to their local polling stations.


Councillor Tony Vickers congratulated the elections team and staff who worked on the elections as they had done an excellent job. It was unfortunate that we would not know the number of voters who were put off because of the introduction of voter ID. 


Councillor Clive Taylor reiterated the thanks to the staff working on the elections on behalf of his party. He agreed with the comments made about the introduction of voter ID as he had witnessed voters being turned away.


Council noted the report.

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