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We shall overcome – on polling day

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: April 28, 2009

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PREPARATIONS for the forthcoming elections are in full swing – despite organisers facing several difficulties.

Polling stations will be open on June 4 for people to cast votes in elections for the new Cornwall Council, the European Parliament and, in St Austell, for new parish councils.

With the decision to hold elections for the new Cornwall Council only being announced in February staff have been working hard to ensure that everything will be in place for June 4.

They had originally been working to a timetable for elections for the new council to be held in October after Cornwall County Council sent a request to the Government asking for the elections to be held then to ensure that all boundary changes being made for the new council were in place.

However, the Government decided that it would be better for elections to be held sooner rather than later and announced that they would be contested on the draft recommendations for the boundary changes being made.

The elections team at Cornwall Council has faced many challenges in completing its task.

In a report which will go before the One Cornwall Implementation Executive today (Wednesday) some of the problems are highlighted.

It states: "The combined elections are the most complicated elections held to date within Cornwall due to the new electoral divisions."

The electoral service also had to cope with six separate teams in Cornwall being merged into one as well as technical difficulties posed by the merging of six different systems. Work also had to be done to review polling stations to be used for the elections with a number of changes being made.

With the election coinciding with the first day of the Royal Cornwall Show council staff even investigated whether a polling station could be operating at the Royal Cornwall Showground, but was unable to as electors have to use their local polling station.

Instead a campaign is being launched to encourage those who are attending the Royal Cornwall Show to register for a postal vote to ensure they can still take part in the election.

The report concludes stating: "The electoral services team has shown determination and commitment to deliver the combined elections.

"Despite challenging timescales and many significant issues the project has still met all statutory milestones to date."

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