Council prepares for yearly elections

The City of Lincoln Council is preparing for the yearly local elections in May, and is asking residents of the city to make sure they are registered to vote.

All households in Lincoln received registration forms between August and October last year, which can be sent back to the City Council.

The deadline for registering for the elections and the referendum and for organising postal or proxy votes is April 14, with local elections held on Thursday, May 5.

The council has 65,050 electors registered, of which 8,409 registered to vote by post.

Eleven councillor seats, one in each of the Lincoln wards, will be contested in the yearly local elections.

Steve Swain, Principal Democratic Officer at the City of Lincoln Council, said: “Sometimes people don’t realise they need to re-register every year.

“We sent out registration forms last autumn, but if you are not sure whether or not you returned it, or if you have moved house since then and haven’t registered with your new details, you need to register now.

“If you are not registered, you can’t vote, it’s as simple as that,” Swain explained.

The overall vote turnout in 2010 was just over 60% with the highest turnout in the Hartsholme ward, where 65.9% people cast their vote.

Referendum and elections

A referendum on the parliamentary voting system will also be held on May 5.

This will ask voters if they want to switch from the ‘first past the post’ system for parliamentary elections to the ‘alternative voting’ (AV) system, where voters rank constituency candidates in order of preference.

This referendum is being held because it was one of the things the Liberal Democrats demanded in return for their part in forming the coalition government.

Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, says: “I am wholly unconvinced by the Alternative Vote (AV) proposal—it is obscure, unfair, unwanted and expensive.

“I do not believe the general public are interested either, it is something the media are willing to talk up for their own ends,” McCartney added.

Yearly elections continue

A proposal to have all-out elections every four years for the City of Lincoln Council did not get enough votes last December.

The Conservative group in power at the council proposed that instead of yearly elections, the City of Lincoln Council should hold elections every four years.

Their reasoning behind this proposal was that it would save taxpayers over £140,000 over four years, and bring more stability to the council.

It was hoped that four-year elections would also reinvigorate local elections turnouts, which in most city wards are between 20% and 40%.

However, the Labour group argued annual elections are good for democracy, especially at a time when council would have to make some unpopular decisions.

The all-out four-year elections proposal did not get enough votes from the Full Council, as it needed two-thirds of the total votes cast.

The City of Lincoln Council remains the only district council in Lincolnshire to have yearly elections.

Source: City of Lincoln Council