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Second home voters

Graham Smith | 10:35 UK time, Friday, 11 June 2010

Cornwall councillor Jeremy Rowe is planning to ask a question at next week's meeting of the full council about second home voters.

Jeremy's concern is that in two Cornish Parliamentary constituencies, where the winning margin was very small, people whose main home is outside of Cornwall might have influenced the outcome. Full marks to Jeremy for raising this issue - although, er, didn't all of Cornwall's winning candidates end up on the government benches anyway?

Nevertheless, great minds clearly think alike: last week I submitted a Freedom of Information application in respect of the recent Penwerris ward town council by-election in Falmouth, where postal votes accounted for nearly half of the total. I chose this example because the turnout was low and comparison with the register of council tax discounted properties (second homes) is relatively straightforward.

Under current rules, well organised political parties can easily build up a "postal bank" of absent voters, particularly for local council elections. I have asked what percentage of the Penwerris ward postal votes were cast from second home addresses. Cornwall Council has promised to reply to me by 5th July.


  • Comment number 1.

    'great minds think alike'. That's v. funny, Mr Smith. Studying Mr Rowe's material it appears this issue, of not inconsiderable significance for democracy in the Cornwall and the UK as a whole, has been driven along by others for around a year. You have stumbled upon it quite recently and appear to have just woken up to the true import of the issue and the scope it throws up for your personal and vicarious self-advancement.

    It will, nevertheless be interesting to read what your FoI enquiry reveals...if you get anywhere with it that is...

    Another interesting question is this: What is the meaning, purpose and value of electoral laws and fines applying to second 'home' voters when the Electoral Commission has no means, method or system for monitoring them in order to ensure compliance or to detect transgressions?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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