Community Campaign (Hart)
Friday 5th March 2004

Meeting to discuss Local Elections Taking Place 10th June 2004


James Radley (JR)


Jenny Radley

Membership Secretary

Soo James


John Colburn (JC)

Election Agent

Alison Macallan


Various CC(H) Members



James Radley explained that the Community Campaign (Hart) (CC(H)) had been formed to formalise the efforts by the community to campaign on a wide range of issues of local concern. Contesting seats in the 2004 Local Elections had always been an option in order to gain representation on the District Council. The number of wards to be contested would depend on the level of support. If two or more candidates won seats, CC(H) would become a recognised group and could thus be more effective.

It was explained that the actual wards to be contested would not be discussed.

A member noted that some existing Councillors lack motivation and the community needs representatives, who will speak with conviction, take action and interact with the local community. JR added that we need Councillors who will listen.

Using QEB as an example, JR noted that the group had managed to seriously derail a development that had the support of the Council, Ministry of Defence and Taylor Woodrow. This had been achieved by listening and talking to people and learning how to make a difference with input from the local community who had specialist knowledge for example of the PSZ, noise contours and the pSPA. The CC(H) will want to look after the general environment, and nature conservation, medical facilities, schools, traffic jams are all interconnected. It was expected the CC(H) would be different by talking to people and not being told by a political party what to do.

John Colburn gave a summary of the processes involved in the local elections.

It is necessary to register with the electoral commission as a 'political party' if you wish to have a name rather than being an 'Independent'.

The CC(H) has a colour (purple) and a logo which will appear on the ballot paper.

The date of the Local Elections is likely to be 10th June to coincide with the European Elections

Nomination Packs will be available on 29th April.

Hart District Council have been told of intention to fight the election as an official group, therefore will be given election information.

Official announcement of wards open to contest is 6th May - eleven wards are open in Hart.

Nominations close on 13th May at 4.00pm sharp. A lot of people try to get nominations in on the last day or last hour, but if it cannot be processed because a mistake has been made, the nomination will fail.

Electoral roll for each ward being contested will be available on last day of nominations and on a computer disk from 17th May.

Council will publish all nominations on 18th May and that is the last day anyone can withdraw.

Final day for applications for postal and proxy votes is 2nd June.

Counting agents can be nominated on 3rd June.

Polling will take place from 7am to 10pm because it is also a European election.

Polling Stations need to be covered by CC(H) during all of that time.

The count will start immediately after the poll is closed and when the boxes are received at about 10.30pm at the Council Offices.

It will be necessary to verify all European Election boxes before counting the local election votes (European votes are counted the next day).

Declaration is expected at about 3.00am.

All election expenses have to be declared within 35 days after 10th June

Our official Election Agent is John Colburn, he will need nominated persons in each ward to help him to organise the actions in the ward. Each ward will have to be canvassed 100% otherwise the voters will not know who we are. This is a major task. It is possible to 25-30 houses in an evening if you are lucky (opposition may try to keep you talking for half an hour!).

There are about 1,000 homes in each ward. A lot of people are needed to canvass; it is a challenge and can be good fun. We have a good platform and a huge surge of opinion. Also need leaflet droppers. We do not need polling agents - they look at polling stations to check they comply with the rules. JC has total confidence in this.

Counting agents are important - not sure how many are allowed for each candidate - probably 2 or 3 - they attend the count and observe on behalf of the candidate. They also help with scrutinising papers with unsure marks. There is a number on the side of the counterfoil and if there is any defamation on a ballot paper it can be identified by the number.

When canvassing we will have a list of individuals at each house. Ask whether we can count on their vote and record their. Actual turnout for voting in local elections is usually rather low at about 30%. Canvassers are very important and can win an election.

The floor noted that as an unknown party we have little time to make people aware because no pre-canvass has been done. It was confirmed that all canvassers would have a leaflet to leave with voters.

It was noted that parties use the canvassing information to check on who has actually voted those who cannot travel to the polling station can be collected by car.

JC confirmed that there is a system - we will know some of the people who will be voting for us. The Tellers outside the polling station can collect the number from the counterfoil and most people will give it to you, therefore we will know who hasn't voted yet and can collect them. Tellers from each party usually work together and tell each other the numbers they have been told. Nobody from any party is allowed to talk to voters as they go in or out of the polling station, other than the Tellers.

We have a high profile at the moment. A lot of people have made contact by e-mail or telephone and others will join on the way.

Expenses are fixed by statute according to how many electors are in the ward. Agent must make sure all rules are adhered to. It was confirmed that proper accounts must be kept and be available to be audited.