Call for re­count in elec­tion blun­der

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

COUN­CIL bosses are to ap­ply to a court to re­open bal­lot boxes af­ter it was re­vealed that some vot­ers were given the wrong vot­ing pa­pers.

Of­fi­cials want to re­count pa­pers af­ter vot­ers from Gawsworth were given bal­lot slips at the Ivy Bank Pri­mary School polling sta­tion al­low­ing them to vote in the new town coun­cil elec­tion.

Cheshire East Coun­cil has be­gun legal pro­ceed­ings to an­a­lyse and re­count the re­sult for the South ward.

The sit­u­a­tion has been branded ‘sham­bolic’ by Labour coun­cil­lors.

The coun­cil will now ap­ply to Macclesfield County Court for the right to open up the bal­lot boxes.

The two seats were won Labour can­di­date Neil Puttick and Con­ser­va­tive can­di­dates Chris An­drew.

But with only 156 votes be­tween four can­di­dates – which also in­cluded Labour’s Fiona Wil­son, and Tory Brad Snelling – it is feared there could now be a dif­fer­ent elec­tion re­sult.

The coun­cil has been un­able to con­firm the num­ber of in­valid votes and has called the er­ror ‘re­gret­table’.

Can­di­dates have been ad­vised by the coun­cil not to com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion but Coun­cil­lor Sam Cor­co­ran, Cheshire East Coun­cil Labour Group spokesman, slammed the blun­der as ‘sham­bolic’.

He said: “How on earth can Cheshire East Coun­cil make such a big mis­take?

“The can­di­dates weren’t told about this er­ror un­til two hours be­fore the count.

“I have se­ri­ous mis­giv­ings about how this has been han­dled.”

Labour stal­wart coun­cil­lor Janet Jack­son be­lieves the re­count could pro­duce a new re­sult.

She said: “We be­lieve that 240 res­i­dents from Gawsworth, a Con­ser­va­tive sup­port­ing area, were in­cor­rectly al­lowed to vote. We fought so hard for this elec­tion.

“It’s very dis­ap­point­ing that this has hap­pened for ev­ery­one in­volved.”

The coun­cil will be hop­ing to cor­rect the er­ror by May 21 when the new town coun­cil is due to meet for the first time.

A spokesman for Cheshire East Coun­cil said: “Ow­ing to an ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror an ap­pli­ca­tion will be made to the County Court for the bal­lot pa­pers of those vot­ers who were not reg­is­tered for this elec­tion to be iden­ti­fied and ex­tracted, with the se­crecy of the bal­lot be­ing main­tained at all times.

“There will then be a re­cal­cu­la­tion of the bal­lots cast.

“The re­turn­ing of­fi­cer re­grets that this has be­come nec­es­sary but the re­quired legal process is clear.” ●● A BAND of mu­si­cians are cel­e­brat­ing af­ter ex­celling in a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Macclesfield-based Silk Brass has been pro­moted to the First Sec­tion of a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

The band came fourth out of a field of 16 bands from the North West area at the Re­gional Brass Band Cham­pi­onships held at Black­pool’s Win­ter Gar­dens and gained pro­mo­tion to the First Sec­tion.

Band­mas­ter Bob Good­win said: “It was a great per­for­mance by the band and we now look for­ward to con­test­ing in the First Sec­tion next year”.

You can see the band in Con­cert at 7.30pm on Sun­day, May 17, at Dane­side Theatre in Con­gle­ton.

The Con­cert is to be a Me­mo­rial Con­cert in trib­ute to Ben Bai­ley who died last year and was a great fol­lower and a huge sup­porter of the band.

Tick­ets cost £8 from San­dra Birch on 07773 103656 or on the door on the evening. All the pro­ceeds will be split be­tween Age UK and Silk Brass.

●● Labour coun­cil­lor Janet Jack­son

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