Post by Chris Whiteside on May 10, 2015 21:27:17 GMT
The Independent candidate is definitely not soft left - he describes himself as not being anti-Conservative or anti-Labour.
Sadly, it is obvious in retrospect that both the council and candidates needed to do even more to explain to people how the voting system worked. There had been efforts made to do this but literally thousands of votes were wasted. It almost certainly did not help get the explanation over that there were four elections on the same day (Parliamentary, Mayoral, Borough councillors, Town/Parish councillors.
A huge number of votes were spoilt at each stage, some obviously deliberately, but most apparently because of misunderstandings.
For example, hundreds of votes, some for each of the three candidates, were spoilt because the voter expressed a clear preference but did so in the right hand (second preference) column and left the left hand (first preference) column blank. Electoral Commission Guidance, which in my opinion was inconsistent with the principle of allowing a clear preference to stand but which the returning officer was obliged to follow, was absolutely specific that these had to be treated as spoilt.
Thousands of voters, again for all three candidates, used their first and second preference for the same candidate: we clearly needed to do more to explain that your second preference would only be taken into account if your first choice candidate had already lost. Had that message been properly understood, some of those who chose not to express a second preference would probably have done so.