Campaign For ‘One Person-One Vote’ Democracy In Cornwall (and the UK!)

Chronological Order: Text updates top down. Press updates bottom up.

June 2009. Property Based Multiple Vote Cornwall Council Local Government Election Scandal – Conservative Party ‘refused to comment’, ‘refused to confirm or deny’ and are ‘not prepared to comment on rumours’. Telling the truth of what actually went on not a Conservative Party option?

Property Based Local And General Election Gerrymandering In Cornwall (and the UK) – For Press Coverage Start at bottom of the page. If you also find ‘The More Houses You Have – The More Votes You Get’ unacceptable in our not-yet ‘One Person-One Vote’ democracy you can write to your MP to get this sorted out – the sooner the better – at: UK MP e-mail List.)

July 2009. Dan Rogerson MP questions Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP on this fundamental undemocratic inequity in the House Of Commons : VIDEO

July 2009. Andrew George MP writes on the issue.

March 2010. Dan Rogerson MP writes to Cornwall Council calling for action to prevent second home owners skewing the general election result in Cornwall & Isles Of Scilly.

March 2010. Another fundamentally flawed property based electoral registration ‘flipping’ undemocratic general election in Cornwall & Isles Of Scilly on the horizon? AL

April 23 2010. E mail dialogue with BBC Radio Cornwall presenter Laurence Reed, following his broadcast of incorrect information on his phone in show today:

Dear Mr Reed
I happened to hear your Padstow caller’s enquiry regarding second home owner voting entitlements and your inaccurate and misleading explanation.Here is some background arising from last year’s local government elections and the anomalies it threw up in relation to both local government and national general elections:

https://anguslamond.wordpress.com/campaign-for-‘one-person-one-vote’-democracy-in-cornwall and the uk//

Here is a simple and clear explanation you might like to broadcast and which should help to clarify the matter for the benefit of Cornish voters and to help second home owners avoid wasting their votes and even putting themselves in legal jeopardy:The Electoral Commission has now further clarified the rules and require that, in order to qualify to vote in Cornwall in the 2010 General Election:

“A person’s name may appear on the electoral register only if they reside at an address within the electoral area. Residence is not defined in law, but it has been held by the courts to entail a ‘considerable degree of permanence’. Based on this criteria, it is possible for a person to be registered to vote in two different electoral areas. A person with two homes who spends about the same amount of time in each can be lawfully registered at both addresses.However, it is unlikely that ownership of a second home that is used only for recreational purposes would meet the residency qualification. Ownership of a second home that a voter pays council tax on but is not resident in does not qualify them for electoral registration in that area. It is for the local Electoral Registration Officer to decide in the light of an individual voter’s circumstances whether they may be said to be resident at an address, and therefore eligible for registration. Electoral Registration Officers are required to consider each case on its own merits.”

Clearly Kevin Lavery, Cornwall’s CEO and Electoral Returns Officer whose responsibility it is to ensure a fair General Election in Cornwall will be keen, able and willing, using his handy and now centralised 90% Council Tax payers second ‘home’ owner list, to scrutinize, identify and weed out all those invalid Electoral Roll registrations of second ‘home’ owners who don’t live in Cornwall and who, through political party misguidance or misunderstanding of the rules, have incorrectly registered to vote in Cornwall but do not qualify to vote in Cornwall due to not complying with the ‘same amount of time in each (residence)’ rule. The numbers involved are likely to be substantial.

Perhaps, in line with your public service remit, you will call Kevin Lavery to ask what he is doing to ensure only ‘same amount of time in each residence’ second home owners are allowed to exercise their current entitlement to vote in Cornwall’s 2010 General Election.I hope you find this useful and I look forward to hearing you broadcast this helpful clarification today.Yours sincerely
Angus Lamond

Reply from Laurence Reed: I heard from our political reporter who explained the issues, you MUST have heard that,and will pass on your comments to him.
Reply to Mr Reed: Dear Mr Reed,  Your political reporter’s explanation was incorrect. Please correct that disinformation on air.   Angus Lamond
Outcome: More accurate and precise information broadcast by 15.00 same day same programme.

June/July 2010. Cornwall Council Councillors Rowe and Folkes address the issues at Cornwall Council:

July 1st 2010. Letter from Angus Lamond to all members of Cornwall Council  Electoral Review Panel:

‘Last year I stood in Cornwall’s local government election in the St Endellion constituency. During the campaign I was shocked to learn of the enhanced voting privileges accorded to non-resident multiple house owners. Here is some of the press and other coverage to date (updates ongoing):

Campaign For ‘One Person-One Vote’ Democracy In Cornwall (and the UK!)

I had been aware in the past that concerns were expressed about the extent to which the former North Cornwall MP Gerry Neale had cultivated, orchestrated and harvested non-resident second home ‘flipped’ votes but had not been aware of the extent to which the anti-democratic deficiencies of our electoral system extended to all levels of elections. I was also appalled to find Anthony Steen MP in 2009 actively promoting second ‘home’ voter participation in local government and general elections. He wrote:

‘My first step was to write a letter to second home owners in Salcombe asking them to consider registering to vote here and suggesting they might like to get more involved in the life and development of their own (?) community.’

I find it appalling that, by dint of owning more than one house, non-residents whose interests can often be in direct conflict with those of full time residents can currently have undue influence on electoral outcomes, at both local government and national general election level, through multiple registrations in as many constituencies as they have houses and multiple voting in local elections and vote location ‘flipping’ in national General Elections, thereby, particularly in areas with a high percentage of so-called ‘second homes’, marginalising the democratically expressed wishes of full time residents and diminishing the value of their vote.

It is known that, prior to the 2010 General Election, multiple house owners were being sent polling cards and postal voting forms in all the constituencies in which they owned houses and had registered to vote. Candidates who, on principle, would not wish to canvass non-residents for votes are compromised into doing so by the inevitability of having to put leaflets through doors of unattended houses not knowing whether they are lived in by full time residents or not.

Dan Rogerson raised this issue on my behalf and also in the interests of better democracy in The Duchy Of Cornwall and the UK in general in The House Of Commons in 2009:

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debate/?id=2009-07-09b.1148.6

Unfortunately, the necessary and long overdue changes to electoral law that are required to bring ‘One Person – One Vote’ democracy to Cornwall and the UK were not then able to be developed and incorporated into the well advanced Electoral Reform Bill going through the House of Lords.

Councillor Rowe is to be congratulated on bringing this serious issue into debate within Cornwall Council:

http://jeremyrowe.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/06/10/second-home-voters

http://jeremyrowe.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/06/24/second-home-voters-update

http://jeremyrowe.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/06/18/electoral-review-panel-to-examine-second-home-voters-issue

http://jeremyrowe.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/06/15/cornwall-council-challenges-a-mere-18-second-home-voters

As is Graham Smith of the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/second_home_voters_1.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/secret_ballots_and_second_home.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/worried_about_second_home_vote.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/kevins_too_busy_to_probe_secon.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/game_on.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/a_letter_to_the_chief.html

Current electoral law is clearly deficient and gives extraordinary and undue levels of influence to non-resident multiple house owners. Cornwall Council Chief Executive and Electoral Returning Officer Kevin Lavery appears unwilling to thoroughly examine the registers relating to the 2010 General Election claiming exemption from the FOI Act to identify illegal votes. However, non-obligation to produce this information is NOT an obligation not to produce it.

Clearly conducting a thorough analysis of all the over 16,000 potentially entitled second ‘home’ vote migrators/flippers who don’t live in Cornwall to ascertain the truth of the extent of illegal double voting in the recent General Election 2010 would be a costly exercise. However, in view of the narrow margin results in some constituencies in both the 2009 local government elections and the General Election 2010, there is a very strong case for implementing/commissioning such a study in the best democratic interests of Cornwall’s full time residential population to whom, after all, Cornwall Council owes a primary duty of care.

Perhaps the Cornwall Council Electoral Review Panel will initiate/instruct a random sample study in order to obtain a better picture of the possible extent of inadvertant/misguided/purposeful illegal multiple voting in the 2010 General Election?

Perhaps Cornwall Council could also sponsor a more extensive, less expensive but thorough study by a post graduate student at the Exeter University annexe at Penryn?

Perhaps Cornwall Council Electoral Review Panel can come up with even more robust, substantial and effective strategies than either of those two suggestions to secure the elimination of these anti-democratic anomalies once and for all?

Hopefully, with such strategies in combination with concerted UK government and Electoral Commission lobbying by Cornwall Council and others and participation of the Electoral Reform Society, substantive changes to electoral law to introduce equal voting rights for all and the elimination of enhanced voting privileges for the multiple property owning minority will be brought about before the next round of local government and UK General elections.

Will Cornwall Council Electoral Review Panel grasp the nettle and set the ball rolling from Friday July 2nd 2010? ‘

July 3rd 2010 – Councillor Rowe’s comments on the deliberations of Cornwall Council Electoral Review Panel on July 2nd:

http://jeremyrowe.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/07/03/second-home-voting-jim-currie-and-the-unwelcome-effects-of-hot-weather/

July 7th 2010 – Dan Rogerson MP raises the issue again at Prime Minister’s Questions and secures a meeting with the minister from Prime Minister Cameron to thrash out the iniquity and inequity of multiple house owner/multiple vote/multiple constituency  local and general election gerrymandering: VIDEO

Dan Rogerson MP: ‘Voting by non-resident home owners in regions such as Cornwall is becoming a contentious issue. Councils are not checking whether people are voting in two locations in the same election, and local residents are worried that sometimes election results might be skewed. Will the Prime Minister meet me, or invite one of his ministerial colleagues to do so, to discuss this issue?’

David Cameron PM: ‘I am very happy that one of my colleagues should have a meeting with the hon. Gentleman. It is important that we make sure that electoral registers are accurate. It is also important to recognise that it is an offence to vote at a general election in two different places. However, I think that there are problems with saying whether second home owners can vote. I think that a number of hon. Members might take rather a dim view, as some of them might not be able to vote in their own constituencies, but I am happy for the hon. Gentleman to have a meeting with the Minister responsible for electoral registration.’

The mystery of why successive MPs/Parliaments/Prime Ministers have done NOTHING to straighten out Electoral Law in the UK explained! Prime Minister Cameron also understates the true potential scale and significance of the problem .  The mantras ‘second homes’ / ‘voting twice’ don’t reflect the true scope for gerrymandered elections. Replace those terms with ‘multiple houses’ / ‘multiple votes’ / ‘multiple constituencies’. Add in postal and proxy voting – That puts an entirely different and compounded complexion on things.

July 3rd 2010. Councillor Rowe reports HERE.

August 27th 2010. Report of Padstow illegal multiple voting by non-resident multiple house owners received from a reliable third party:

‘I overheard some people in a pub in Padstow who were clearly not local, discussing how they vote in North Cornwall and their first home area in Surrey at the same time in the General Election. The people were in the Customs in Padstow and as I was sat close to them my ears picked up when they started to discuss the election and that they voted at home in Surrey and that they always vote locally where their second home is (Padstow) by postal vote so they can “keep the undesirables out”. ‘

August 27th 2010.

Extract from my letter delivered personally by hand to Prime Minister David Cameron at 20:00 on the evening of Friday August 27th 2010 in the Cornish electoral district of St Endellion :

“It appears you care considerably more and understand Cornwall much better than recent Prime Ministers. I hope that sense of affinity is sufficiently deeply felt for you to extend that feeling to respecting and protecting the value of the election votes of the current and future children of Cornwall & Scilly into their adult futures and that you will:

1.Initiate revision and equalisation of UK Electoral Law to ensure multiple house owners are only permitted, in all future local government and UK national general elections, to vote in the constituency where they have their 100% Council Tax liability primary residence and that all such non-resident multiple house owners currently registered to vote in Cornwall & Scilly, thereby distorting electoral roll numbers, election outcomes and constituency boundary calculations, are removed from the electoral rolls of Cornwall & Scilly. Will you?

2.Cancel any proposed plans to gerrymander the parliamentary constituencies of Cornwall in any manner that blurs the long established territorial and constitutional boundary and the cultural distinctions between England and The Celtic Nation of Cornwall embodied within and defined by the coincident boundary of the territorial Duchy Of Cornwall. Will you?

I also hope you will take an interest in and support Dan Rogerson MP’s forthcoming early day motion in The House Of Commons to protect the Trevalga Community from the anti-community depredations of Marlborough College – http://www.battlefortrevalga.org/. Will you?

Best wishes

Angus Lamond “

Related references and resources:

Keep Cornwall Whole Campaign: http://keepcornwallwhole.org/

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=146738185341595

The Battle For Trevalga: http://www.battlefortrevalga.org/

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=131952170172819

Multiple Votes Scandal cont... - West Briton August 6th 2009

Multiple Votes Scandal cont... - West Briton August 6th 2009

Western Morning News July 27th 2009

Western Morning News July 27th 2009

MPs Join In Fight For 'One Person-One Vote' Democracy In The UK.

MPs Join In Fight For 'One Person-One Vote' Democracy In The UK.

Reply To Mrs Dalley

Reply To Mrs Dalley

Mrs Dalley's Letter

Mrs Dalley's Letter

ToryMultipleVotesCornishGuardian24062009

‘Elections Were A Sham’- A Candidate’s Letter To The Cornish Guardian 24.06.2009

TorySecondHomeVotesCGLetter24062009

Second Homes Voting Scandal – Cornish Guardian 17.06.2009

ConConCG

Double Vote Is An Insult To Democracy – Western Morning News 16.06.2009.

ConConWMN

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