Jeremy Rowe

Cornwall Councillor for the Parishes of Egloshayle, St Breock, St Ervan, St Eval, St Issey, St Mabyn & St Tudy Learn more

Second home voters

by Jeremy Rowe on 10 June, 2010

I have tabled a question to next week’s Cornwall Council meeting regarding the issue of second home owners casting their votes in Cornwall when their primary place of residence is elsewhere.

I am by no means the first to make noises on this issue. There has been a long-running debate on the Cornwall24 internet forum, Dan Rogerson MP has raised this issue in parliament and Angus Lamond, a candidate in last year’s Cornwall Council election, has been banging the drum for some time now. (The BBC’s Graham Smith has also reported on this issue – apologies if I’ve missed anyone else out.)

The principle here is a simple one: if you are lucky enough to have two places of residence, then surely you should be registered to vote at the address at which you spend most of your time. There is some suggestion that second home owners might be encouraged to register their vote in one of Cornwall’s more marginal constituencies, particularly if their primary residence is within a safe seat somewhere else. It’s easy to see why this might be attractive to some of the more politically active voters who have the choice.

But when two of Cornwall’s six parliamentary constituencies were decided by fewer than 500 votes (one by a mere 66 votes), it does call into question whether the final decision was made by those who actually live and work in Cornwall, or by those who only spend a few weeks a year in some of our more picturesque seaside villages.

I will be interested to hear from the Leader of the Council what action (if any) he is taking to press the case for reform with the new government.

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Angus Lamond says:

    Good to see you taking this important issue on board and following through, Jeremy.

    That Camborne/Redruth constituency result is very interesting – and worth a thoroughly forensic post-election scrutiny of the voters (more than one in how many instances?) associated with the 1,154 90% Council Tax liability second ‘homes’ in that constituency to ascertain:

    1.How many opted to vote in the Camborne/Redruth constituency and not at their 100% Council Tax liability primary residence constituency?

    2.How many of those voters actually qualified to register and to vote in the Camborne & Redruth constituency under the current ‘same amount of time in each’ Electoral Commission residency rule:
    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/voting-and-registration/i-have-two-homes.-can-i-register-to-vote-at-both-addresses ?

    3. How many voted – illegally – both in the Camborne & Redruth constituency and in the constituency of their 100% Council Tax liability primary residence? (It is known that voters were sent polling cards at ALL the residences where they had previously registered to vote – whether for local government elections or the General Election 2010 – in Cornwall and elsewhere. It is also known that, due to the laxity of the current electoral regime, there was considerable scope for illegal double/multiple voting via purposeful or unwitting or misunderstanding abuse of the multiple proxy/postal/residential/personal registration/vote casting options)

    As you have pointed out, the margin of the General Election 2010 result in the Camborne & Redruth constituency was a mere 66. If proper and thorough post-election scrutiny reveals ANY evidence of ANY illegal votes being cast, that particular election result should be ruled unlawful, illegitimate and void and the election in that constituency should be run again.

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