Anyone standing for election deserve thanks. So I will start off with saying well done to Clair Murray who was recently elected and to Spencer Hawes, Christine Hosey and Trevor Toms who stood and contested the election on the 6th September.
Congratulations to Trevor Toms who won the vote with 287 of the 592 votes cast Well done to Spencer and Christine who polled 177 and 125 votes. However, this blog post is not about four great candidates and the two who got elected onto the Town Council but the shameful indifference and apathetic way people treat elections. Especially at a local level.
Is it really good enough that less than a quarter – 23% – of the voting population in Porthleven voted on the 6th of September? The simple answer is no, it is not good enough. in-fact, it is shameful. However, it get worse. As the election on the 6th was the fourth election to fill two seats. Yes fourth. In the two other elections, no-one put their name forward.
I have read many comments about ‘I didn’t know anything about the candidates’ and that is the reason why I did not vote. Really? Is that actually an excuse? I never received any flyer through the door, but still voted. In all elections that I have been eligible to vote in, I may have not received information, met the candidate, or knew anything about them, but I asked, did the research myself, or voted with the hope that whoever had placed themselves on the ballot was going to do their very best for the community.
As someone who has stood for a few elections. I can tell you delivering leaflets is not a simple matter. It takes weeks to deliver to each house. There is no party machine to help, you have to do this on your own. All the candidates work, or are they expected to take off a couple of weeks holiday so you can get a leaflet. I know the candidates were out delivering on weekends and after work. But Porthleven is bigger than you think. It’s not just about walking up and down the street, it is up and down pathways to the front door. It takes time, a lot of time.
When you stand for election, you have to fund all your materials yourself. Printing is not cheap. Or should you only be able to stand for election if you can afford the printing costs? You are not going to get much change out of £300 to enable each house to get one leaflet.
Another excuse I heard is I did not know there was an election on. Granted everyone is not on social media. But everyone who is on the electoral register (and you should be by law) got a letter which acts as a polling card. The truth is you do not even need a polling card to vote. You just give you name and address and in a very British sense of honesty, you are given a bit of paper to cast your vote in pencil.
The very fact three people put their names forward to be on the Town Council should be enough for you to give up 10 minutes of your time and pick one. Yes, you might not everything about them, but they are standing because they want to help Porthleven. That is enough reason to vote.
So well done to the 592 people who did their civic duty and voted. Shame on the other (with exceptions to those who may have been unable to due to health and other reasons etc) the 77% who could not be bothered or came up with another excuse as why not to vote. It really isn’t good enough.
And as a final shot, the election cost you the tax-payer of Porthleven near £5k. As it is your money being spent, don’t you think you should actually vote…