Kevin's too busy to probe second home voters
Remember I asked Cornwall Council's Electoral Services team to tell me what percentage of postal votes were cast from second home addresses in the recent Falmouth Town Council by-election? I've now had a reply to my Freedom of Information application and quote the following extracts:
"The Electoral Registration Officer does not carry out the duties on behalf of the local authority but in his own personal capacity....the Freedom of Information Act does not list any person appointed under the Representation of the People Act 1983. It follows that the Electoral Registration Officer, Returning Officer or any other person appointed under the Act are not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
Due to the current high level of work in progress and the level of resources required to undertake this exercise, I do not intend to investigate this request at the present time.
Electoral Registration Officer
Naturally I'm disappointed - I chose this particular by-election to study because the turnout was low, the percentage of postal votes was high and the winning margin only 20 votes. It's hard to see how the "level of resources required" to investigate could be smaller.
It looks like Cornwall councillor Jeremy Rowe has his work cut out if he is to overcome the bureaucracy and make any progress on this issue, despite getting it on the agenda for the Electoral Review Panel next week. I wish him the best of luck.