I will be standing and seeking re-election to Cornwall Council on May 4th 2017.

My term of office as your Cornwall Councillor nearly up as there will be elections to Cornwall Council on May 4th. No official list of candidates seeking election has been finalised, but many of the political parties have named their candidate to fight this election.

This blog post is officially confirming my intent to stand and seek re-election as an Independent to the electoral division of Porthleven and Helston West at the May election.  I hope residents will consider me for a further term of office.

If you are registered to vote, you do not have to re-register to vote in the European Referendum

I have seen many Facebook messages saying people have to re-register to vote in the European Referendum due to take place in six-weeks time. The simple fact is if you are already registered to vote then you do not need to do anything else at this time. You can vote in the referendum.

If you have not registered, and you want to vote in the EU Referendum, you need to register to vote by Tuesday, 7 June. If you do not, you cannot vote.

If you have not yet registered to vote, then you can apply online HERE . You can also use this website to check whether you are on the electoral register, update your name, address or other details or arrange to vote in person or by post. The process usually takes about five minutes to complete.

I know that some people have been confused by the information being sent out nationally and think they need to specifically register to vote in the EU Referendum. You do not.

If you are a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen and registered to vote in local government and/or parliamentary elections you will be able to vote in the Referendum.

The confusion surrounding ‘can I vote’ has led to nine out of ten applications received at Cornwall Council over the past few weeks have been from people who are already on the electoral register.

This has led to an enormous increase in the workload of the elections staff who have to write to each one of these duplicate applicants to let them know they do not need to apply again.

However, there are still around 14,000 people in Cornwall who have not returned their application forms, despite numerous reminders from the Council’s elections team.

When the revised electoral register for Cornwall was published in December 2015, there were 396,474 voters on the register. This number increased by nearly 18,000 to 414,461 in time for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

With the intense publicity around the EU Referendum it has led to a further flurry of applications to the Council’s elections service over the past few weeks from people wanting to register to vote. As of this week the number of people on the electoral register is 415,645.

For more information on the European Union Referendum.

The office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cornwall and Devon stays Blue.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections are now done and dusted. The turnout for this election was just over 22%, which in my opinion is a pretty poor turnout for such and important role. However, it was an improvement from the previous election.

After the first round of counting, the total number of valid first preference votes cast for each of the candidates is as follows:

Name  Description of Candidate  Votes
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James Labour Party Candidate 66,519
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina The Conservative Party Candidate 69,354
MORRIS William Independent 22,395
SMITH Jonathan Leslie UK Independence Party (UKIP) 49,659
SPENCER Bob Independent 41,382
YOUNGER-ROSS Richard Alan Liberal Democrats 35,154
The number of ballot papers rejected at the first count is as follows:
Want of an official mark 1
Voting for more than one candidate as to the first preference vote 3,375
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 10
Unmarked as to the first preference vote 2,961
Void for uncertainty as to the first preference vote 3,183
Total rejected papers at the first count 9,530
The total number of ballot papers verified is 294,120
The turnout of the election is 22.80%

No candidate received more than 50% of the valid first preference votes. A count therefore needed to be undertaken using the second preference votes for the candidates who are not eliminated from the contest.

This left two candidates in the running to become the Police and Crime Commissioner. There were Labour’s Gareth Derrick and the Tory candidate Alison Hernandez.

The total number of valid second preference votes cast for each of the remaining candidates are shown below:

Name  Description of Candidate  Votes
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James Labour Party Candidate 20,723
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina The Conservative Party Candidate 21,682
The number of ballot papers rejected at the second count is as follows:
Want of an official mark 0
Voting for more than one candidate as to the second preference vote 161
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 0
Unmarked as to the second preference vote 20,249
Void for uncertainty as to the second preference vote 816
Total rejected papers at the second count 21,326

From this, the first and second preferences are added together. As follows:

The total number of valid first and second preference votes cast for each of the remaining candidates is as follows:
Candidate First preferences Second preferences Total
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James 66,519 20,723 87,242
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina 69,354 21,682 91,036

Therefore, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cornwall and Devon is Alison Hernandez. Exeter City Council details.

Alison

The Cornish Guardian has run a story on Alison’s ‘five pledges’

  1. To work as a team with MPs and the Government to get the best funding deal for the people of Devon and Cornwall. The way Government decides how much each force should get is being reviewed. So it is vital we put a strong case for the challenges of our large geography with urban, rural and coastal aspects, along with the influx of visitors during the summer.
  2. Put policing at the heart of communities both on our streets and online.

(a) Safety on our streets: A visible uniformed presence will never be lost during my term of office. It’s so important to respect the diversity of our communities and ensure they receive the policing they need. There is a lot of innovation in Cornwall from working with the other emergency services to greater effect such as the pilot in Hayle. This tri-service station where Police, Fire and Ambulance work as one could be expanded. I’m impressed with the Newquay Safe model and how that can work in other places along with the Streetnet scheme which helps to cascade information about incidences to individual streets.

(b) Safety online: I’m planning to develop policing online specially to protect the young from cyber bullying and online grooming. I want there to be an opportunity to chat to a Police Officer while online. Businesses told me cyber crime was their number one concern when I toured the Royal Cornwall Showground in March and when I visited many towns in Cornwall and they wanted help to learn more how to protect themselves.

  1. Support those affected by crime: victims, witnesses, businesses and the most vulnerable in our community need to be able to better access the Police and supported to put their lives back on track. Victim care is the responsibility of the PCC and I will ensure a strong focus on this. I aim to expand the Safe Place Scheme for people with learning disabilities and the Purple Angel Scheme for people affected by dementia. Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will become known as THE Safe Place to live, work and visit. I will produce a Business Crime Action Plan to better support those who contribute greatly to our community and encourage better practice for keeping employees and customers safe too. I aim to hot desk in high crime areas, support the expansion of Neighbourhood Health Watch (www.neighbourhoodhealthwatch.org.uk) , safeguard children and young people in need and develop a better way to help those with mental health issues.
  • Improve crime reporting, especially 101. Waiting up to 45 minutes is unacceptable. I know work has started, one of which is the introduction of a new email to contact the team 101@dc.police.uk.

  • Review Police Station closures so that people don’t feel abandoned. Again working with the other emergency services is key for this. I want to see how we can maintain the equivalent of a Police Station front desk in some form in every community that wants or needs one. This could be within a partner agency’s premises or even a local business.

  • Though, it is not all celebration for Alison. As the BBC has run a story on calls she should stand aside’ over expenses probe in the recent General Election.

     

     

     

    Who are the candidates standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner in Cornwall and Devon?

    I vote. I have done in most elections since I became eligible to vote. Part of the voting process is to hopefully meet a candidate, but more importantly, receive at least one leaflet from the candidate explaining who they are, why someone should vote for that person, and what they will do if they are elected.

    The last Police and Crime Commissioner election I as many others had a leaflets from just about all the candidates. However, with one full day before the polls open on Thursday, I have had no knock at the door; or a single leaflet. One candidate, did contact me via my official email address with the offer of a meeting. Well done Bob.

    I find the lack of a leaflet very disappointing. If a candidate cannot be bothered to actually explain their priorities to me for this important role, why should I vote for one of the candidates? Though the line given is costs. Yes, leaflets have a cost, and when I seek election, I pay for at least 5000. So why shouldn’t the candidates? 

    With the lack of leaflets/information, residents have asked me who the candidates are and what they stand for. Luckily, there is a handy, though not that well published, website called Choose my PCC. It lists all the candidates nationally. 

    For Cornwall and Devon the candidates are:

    • Alison Hernandez, Conservative – Info
    • Garreth Derrick, Labour – info
    • William Morris, Independent – info
    • Jonathan Lesley-Smith, UKIP – info
    • Bob Spencer, Independent – info
    • Richard Younger-Ross, Lib Dem – info

    If interested HERE is  a link to a downloadable PDF document of all the candidates.

    Out of the six candidates standing, only one lives in Cornwall. That candidate is William Morris who lives in Ludgvan.

    The Government has chosen the supplementary vote system, instead of the ‘first past the post’ system for these elections. This is currently the system used to elect directly elected mayors, the closest existing role to PCCs. 

    Under the supplementary vote system, a voter is asked to indicate first and second preferences. If no candidate has more than 50 per cent of the first preference votes, the two candidates with the highest number of first preference votes go forward to a second round.
    In Cornwall there will be 425 ballot boxes issued. 408,397 people have currently registered to vote, with around 73,000 registering for a postal vote.

    Back in 2012, 63,678 people actually voted of which 29,315 used a postal vote. The last election we saw a pitiful turnout of 15.2%. Just over half, exercised their votes by going to a Polling Station.

    Will this improve this time round?  Or will the lack of leaflets and information result in people not bothering? Having to seek out information is not the best way to engage with the voting public.

    I guess we will find out on Friday morning…

    Election for a new Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on 5th May 2016

    Before the EU Referendum, voters in England will have the ability to elect their areas Police and Crime Commissioner. This election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

    The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) oversees the running of local police forces, including appointing the Chief Constable, setting the local budget and deciding what the priorities should be for the police in their area. At the last election, the Tory candidate, Tony Hogg won the seat with Labour coming second and the Lib Dems coming third.

    We in this PPC area will have the opportunity to elect a completely new commissioner, as Tony Hogg is not seeking re-election.

    Sadly, the turnout both nationally and locally was poor, with a disappointing 15.1% of those eligible in Cornwall, Devon and Isles of Scilly bothered to vote.

    For Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, there will be 1.3 million electors potentially taking part in this election which covers 12 different local authorities ranging from 1,800 electors on the Isles of Scilly to 430,000 in Cornwall. These elections are being led by Exeter City Council, with John Street, the Police Area Returning Officer for Devon and Cornwall.

    In Cornwall 408,397 people have currently registered to vote, with around 73,000 registering for a postal vote.  In 2012 63,678 people actually voted of whom 29,315 used a postal vote.

    Only people who are registered can take part in this election, so I am urging people living in Devon and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to make sure they are registered to vote, so they don’t miss out on having their say on polling day.

    You can register to vote quickly and easily online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your date of birth and national insurance number.

    There will be almost 1400 polling stations open on the day between 7am and 10pm, so there will not be one very far away from your home which will allow you to cast your vote. Over 200,000 postal votes will be issued across the whole area.

    This election uses the Supplementary voting system. Voters choose one of the candidates as their first choice and another as their second.  If no candidate gains 50%+1 of the vote at the initial stage of voting, the top two candidates are identified.  The second preference votes for the top two candidates, from those candidates which have been eliminated at the first stage of voting, are added to the first stage results, and then a result declared for the candidate with the highest number of votes cast.

    Make your vote count, and take part.

    Boundary Commission extends Cornwall’s electoral review till March 2017

    The Leader of Cornwall Council, along with all the political group leaders at Cornwall, and with support from some of Cornwall’s MP’s wrote to the Boundary Commission to highlight the boundary review was not feasible in the period outlined by the Commission when they visited Cornwall in the latter part of 2015.

    In exceptional circumstances, the Boundary Commission, have decided in light of the evidence submitted, have extended the review till March 2017. This means there will be no changes to Cornwall’s Boundaries, or the number of elected councillors for the election in 2017. This has been confirmed in writing by the Boundary Commission today.

    The review will take place – and rightly so – but it will be on a timeline that is achievable and will be able to take into consideration the right evidence. If this extension was not granted, then Cornwall’s election in 2017 would have been a rushed job.

    Furthermore, the Boundary Commission has made it clear a review will happen, and just because the deadline has been extended, the work must start now. The new boundaries will need to be in place in time for the 2021 Cornwall Council elections, unless the Council seeks permission to hold an out-of-turn election.

    My view is this extension is welcomed. However, it is right that Cornwall Council looks at its number of elected officials on what is right for Cornwall, and not some arbitrary figure decided by a body from out Cornwall. Pre 2010, Cornwall had 346 councillors on primary authorities (district and county). Now it has 123.

    Now we have to get on with the work by having the right number of councillors that will reflect Cornwall’s need for the future. This is not Turkey’s voting for Xmas.

     

    Tory’s take Camborne Pendarves from UKIP

    In the latest Cornwall Council by-election, this time for Camborne Pendarves electoral division, UKIP has failed to hold on to the seat they won in 2013.

    The seat was won with 350 votes by the Tory’s and I would like to congratulate (as I would all winners) John Herd for his win and welcome him to Cornwall Council.

    It was a close contest with the Lib Dems coming a close second, with 14 votes behind the winner. Labour came third (220); UKIP forth (89); MK fifth (85); Green sixth (31); and the Independent candidate seventh (13).

    Looking at the 2013 election to this by-election, the Tory’s gain was 0.5%; a gain of 29% for the Lib Dem’s; Labour gain was 1.8%; UKIP down 23.5%; MK down 11.8%. The Green’s gain of 2.9% and Independent 1.2% gain.

    The vote share was:

    Tory – 30.3%

    Lib Dem – 29%

    Labour – 20.5%

    UKIP – 8.3%

    MK – 7.9%

    Green – 2.9%

    Independent – 1.2%

    Cornwall Council By-Election in Camborne Pendarves Division

    With the resignation of UKIP’s Harry Blakely, voters in the Camborne area will be going to polls on Thursday, 20 August to elect a new Cornwall Councillor.

    There are seven candidates are standing for election as the Cornwall Councillor for the Camborne Pendarves electoral division:

    • Nathan Mark Billings           Liberal Democrat
    • Peter Channon                    Independent
    • Val Dalley                           Labour Party
    • Deborah Zoe Fox                 Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall
    • John Herd –                        The Conservative Party Candidate
    • Jacqueline Norma Merrick    Green Party
    • Michael Duane Pascoe          UK Independence Party UKIP

    Residents on the electorial register can vote at three polling stations, and these will be open between 7 am and 10 pm. The polling stations are:

    • St John’s Church Hall, Trevu Road, Camborne
    • The Lowenac Hotel, Basset Road, Camborne
    • Barripper Methodist Chapel, Fore Street, Barripper

     

     

    420,985 people have registered to vote in Cornwall for the General Election

    When you walk into the Polling Station on May 7th to cast your vote, or have already submitted your vote via the postal vote, have you ever wondered the function behind the election?

    Let’s start with the Returning Officer. For a Parliamentary Election in a county constituency, such as Cornwall, the Returning Officer is the High Sherriff.  The High Sherriff can carry out two duties if they wish. To take receipt of the Parliamentary Writ upon delivery by Royal Mail and to declare the result of the election.  All other duties are performed by the Acting Returning Officer who is the Returning Officer for the local authority.

    In Cornwall the Acting Returning Officer is Andrew Kerr, the Council’s Chief Executive.  The High Sheriff is Anthony Fortescue.  Andrew Kerr will declare the three constituency results at Carn Brea.  Mr Fortescue will declare the South East Cornwall Constituency result and may possibly declare the North Cornwall & St Austell & Newquay result.

    420, 985 people have registered to vote in Cornwall.  Cornwall Council has received 74, 016 applications for postal votes.

    The breakdown for the individual constituencies is:

    • St Ives – Electorate: 65,570 ; Postal Votes: 13793 (21% of votes)
    • Camborne and Redruth – Electorate: 66,944;  Postal Votes: 11494 (17.17% of votes)
    • Truro and Falmouth – Electorate: 73,601 ; Postal Votes: 11062 (15.03% of votes)
    • South East Cornwall – Electorate: 71,071;  Postal Votes: 13907 (19.57% of votes)
    • North Cornwall – Electorate: 67,192 ; Postal Votes: 11787 (17.54% of votes)
    • St Austell and Newquay – Electorate: 76,607;  Postal Votes:  11973 (15.63% of votes)

    There are 455 polling stations in Cornwall, with one ballot box per constituency.  The Council has recruited around 1,200 Presiding Officers and Polling Clerks to run these 455 polling stations in Cornwall. In addition to this, the Electoral Service recruited around 750 Count Assistants and 20 Postal Voting Assistants.

    Pretty impressive eh?

    One day to go till the Polls open and it is just too close to call

    Tomorrow the country goes to the Polls to elect candidates to become their MP for the next five-years. From this, and depending if one party has the outright majority, or failing that, the largest number of MP’s, that party should get the chance to form the next Government.

    Just about all Polls predict the 2015 General Elections is just too close to call. This national picture is reflected in Cornwall with the six seats all having small majorities. The following predictions could change, but are correct as of the blog post publication.

    The National Voting Prediction

    The National Voting Prediction

    The clever people over at 38 Degrees have put together the latest predictions data from election forecast that ‘predicts’ using your postcode which party is likely to win in that area. To check your postcode, click HERE.

    As you can see from the pictures below, four of the seats in Cornwall are too close to call. The remaining two, if the predictions are right, will be ‘held’ by the Conservative.

    Of course,  like all predictions we will only know who has secured victory on Friday morning apart from St. Ives who will likely declare Friday afternoon due to the Isle of Scilly vote not reaching the mainland till Friday morning.

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