Voting Underway In Local Elections

ballot boxThere is likely to be a large turnout for the Council elections today on St Mary’s and St Martin’s.

And it may eclipse the record of 65% of locals casting votes in the 1985 election after the number of St Mary’s seats were trimmed from 16 to 13.

There will be no vote on Tresco or St Agnes though, as the two candidates for both of those islands’ ring-fenced seats will be returned unopposed.

On Bryher just one candidate, Marian Bennett, has put herself forward. Bryher has two seats, so one will remain vacant. That leaves the possibility for a by-election on the island. Two residents will have to write to the Council to formally request it though.

Three candidates are contesting the two St Martin’s seats and St Mary’s has 18 locals chasing 13 seats.

Whenever there’s heightened interest in local politics, more islanders seem to stand. This time, there’s been interest following Council controversies including the Chief Officers’ pay rises, waste management and concerns surrounding the suspension and resignation of the former school head teacher Bryce Wilby.

The largest ballot paper in recent memory followed the controversial airport runway extension plans, opposed by the group RARE, where 24 candidates stood in the early 1990s.

Town Hall staff say there have been fewer postal votes requested than Council staff had expected. Sue Pritchard, the Council’s Elections Officer, feels that locals will turn out to vote instead.

The polling stations at the Old Wesleyan Chapel and the St Martin’s Reading Room are open until 10pm and you can vote for as many of the candidates as you wish up to the maximum number of seats available.

The 1,385 eligible voters on St Mary’s will be able to pick up to 13 candidates, but don’t have to chose that many. The 108 people on St Martin’s can vote for up to 2 candidates on that island.

Five Council staff will work across the polling stations today. Two local non-council workers applied for the work but the Council say they couldn’t use them on this occasion although they may be used in the future.

The votes will be counted tomorrow from 10am and the result is expected after 1pm.

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