Don't blame Tories for poll card fiasco
YOUR Letters columns (April 8) contained a number of letters referring to the recent town council elections in Huntingdon, some of which contained unfounded accusations about the Conservative Party s election campaign. First, the saga of the poll cards. I
YOUR Letters columns (April 8) contained a number of letters referring to the recent town council elections in Huntingdon, some of which contained unfounded accusations about the Conservative Party's election campaign.
First, the saga of the poll cards. It is correct that the district council is responsible for the running of elections within Huntingdonshire. It is also correct that they only issue poll cards for town and parish by-elections where asked to do so by the appropriate authority, in this case Huntingdon Town Council.
Huntingdon town councillors resolved three years ago that the council should bear the cost of issuing poll cards in such cases. It was therefore in my view the responsibility of the town clerk to act upon this request. She failed to do so.
As the election agent for the Conservative candidates, I wrote to her politely pointing out that, if we wanted to see an increase in the numbers voting, it is only right that electors should be informed officially as to where and when they could vote. To date I have not received the courtesy of a reply.
In the absence of official poll cards it was only right that the political parties legally took matters into their own hands. On behalf of Claire Dutton and Michelle Turnbull, polling day reminder cards were prepared for every elector, telling them where and when to vote. I gather the Liberal Democrats did the same but I have not seen one of the cards they issued.
I had a wry smile at the Liberal Democrats' letter asking for democracy to be restored next time. At the St Neots Town Council by-election in Eynesbury last December, the Liberal Democrats, who control the town council, decided not to issue poll cards. They held the seat by a handful of votes.
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The letter from Jeremy Bays again contained inaccuracies. The polling station previously used at the Methodist Church Hall was situated next to the home of one of our supporters. The poster was displayed on her property and was within the election law.
Although we did not have to do so we abided by the request of the Returning Officer in order not to cause any offence. Now we are being criticised for issuing information telling people where to vote. It was even more important to do so on this occasion because one of the polling station venues had been changed.
Mr Bays comments about our literature. Neither of our official leaflets mentioned our opponents once. It was, however, the last straw when unworthy remarks from our political opponents were directed at us without any foundation whatsoever. We will continue to use the Liberal Democrats' internal advice to expose their tactics whenever necessary.
Sir PETER BROWN
Conservative election agent