UK Politics

'Funky' cardboard polling booths on trial

Cardboard polling booth Image copyright other

Cardboard polling booths are to be trialled at this Thursday's European elections in an effort to save cash.

Voters in Cornwall will be able to use the new design, alongside the more traditional wooden type.

Cornwall county council has bought 700 of the recyclable booths, similar to those used in Australia and the US, costing £15 each.

The council's deputy elections manager Dave Cunningham said they looked "funky".

Voters will choose new members of the European Parliament this week, with councils looking after voting and counts.

Mr Cunningham said: "We have been looking at ways to make elections more affordable, eco-friendly and manageable for our staff. One of the areas we have been investigating is the provision of polling booths.

"Both the USA and Australia use cardboard booths and we wanted to see if this would work in Cornwall. As well as being much cheaper to produce, using cardboard booths would also dramatically reduce the costs of storage, transport, cleaning, repairs and replacing existing conventional timber booths at end of their life."

'Lightweight'

Wooden booths cost about six times the price of cardboard ones, at £92.

Cornwall Council was unable to find a suitable cardboard booth supplier in the UK and it was deemed too expensive to import them from the US. So it hired architects from Exeter to create a design.

Mr Cunningham said: "We wanted something a bit different, looked funky, was lightweight, fitted into the back of a car (so the presiding officer could take it with them), was simple to put together, and was strong, robust and appropriate for both able and disabled voters."

The result is a curved, four-person booth which is low enough for staff to see over and around. Each booth also has a low desk suitable for disabled voters.

The council will decide after the trial whether to use cardboard booths in future elections.