Co-option of Two Town Councillors to Bollington's East Ward - The Results

Date: 15th July 2019
Published by: David Naylor

Bollington East Ward Co-option of Councillors – Result

At the Town Council meeting on 10th July the 10 members of the Town Council interviewed 8 candidates for the two vacant seats in Bollington’s East Ward. Each of the candidates were asked five questions and given 15 minutes to answer them. Each had also been asked to submit a biography of 150 words and to confirm they met the criteria for being eligible to be a councillor. The latter refers to living within or 3 miles of the town and a number of other factors.

The questions were:

· What strengths can you bring to the role of being a councillor?

· From a resident’s perspective what do you feel are the most important issues Bollington faces and how would you help to address them?

· How would you represent your ward and find out what local concerns are?

· What factors do you feel are important in maintaining the integrity of the council?

· How do you use technology for communication?

The Council would rather have given the electorate in East Ward the right to seek an election but vacancies following an election have to be decided by co-option. Cheshire East Council can only host an election if co-option has been attempted and failed.

All the candidates gave a very good account of themselves and how they would serve the people of the town. However, two candidates stood out and that was reflected in the voting which took place between 10.00pm and 11.15pm.

The voting system was not first past the post but that the winner had to have more votes than the sum of votes for the other candidates. To support that aim each seat had a series of ballot rounds. Candidates scoring no votes were excluded in each ballot round. If no candidate scored zero in a round and several scored the same lowest score an interim ballot would be held to exclude one of the lowest vote candidates. The ballots continued until a candidate became a clear winner with an absolute majority.

The ballot for the first seat took 5 ballot rounds and for the second seat, with the winner of the first excluded, there were 4 ballot rounds. All ballot rounds were taken in a public part of the meeting with the candidates present. This mirrored what would have happened at the count following an election. Each ballot result was projected on a screen showing the number of votes awarded to each candidate and the resultant exclusions and whether clear absolute winner had been achieved. All the ballot papers, candidate scoring sheets and screen prints from the ballot rounds were printed and have been retained for any candidate or member of the public to scrutinise.

The ballot process selected Johanna Maitland and John Cadman Stewart as the new councillors for East Ward. They join Alex Douglas-Kane and Mark Fearn who were elected to East Ward in May.

Johanna and John will begin their Council duties from 2nd August Council meeting when they will submit their signed declarations of office and the Council will formally welcome them to the Council

We are looking forward to working with Johanna and John on your behalf.

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