Don’t boo, vote!

In America, we are waiting for the results with an expectation that Democrats can take control of the House of Representatives  and be a brake on the Presidency of Donald Trump.

What we’ve seen is a number of efforts to reduce the ability to vote –

* North Dakota Indians being asked to register in new ways;

* Georgians being challenged to fill out forms in the exact same way as before (carving out more Black people);

* the exclusion of over 1 million Floridians because they have once heard a criminal record;

* 20,000 from Dodge City having to travel out of town to vote in one place.

In Britain, efforts to disenfranchise people have included –

* the Poll tax,

* requiring every individual to register rather than a member of the household doing the whole house,

* universities no longer able to ensure halls of residence are automatically registered (followed by the concession of asking people to confirm they have moved there) and

* soon, a government proposal to require people to show i.d. as they turn up to vote.

All this when voting fraud remains remarkably low.

Meanwhile in The Netherlands, people are seriously required by law to register.

The surprise is seeing so many photos of long queues in America to vote.  Our reaction here would be to say that there aren’t enough poling stations.

We had a bit of this in The Meadows last year at the library (and was pleasantly surprised).  I think we need to tweak some of the polling districts –

* residents east between Ayton Close and Strome Close being allowed to vote at QWCC rather than Briar Close, and

* residents in the north-east of The Meadows and Hicking Buildings having a new polling station on Crocus Street (and getting ready for the hundreds of people set to move into new flats in the next 2 years).

The council is considering changes to polling districts and polling stations at the November full council meeting, but it’s only the emergencies caused by the new ward boundaries.  So may well get a new polling station for Castle Marina and bits of Castle Boulevard.  But the new Castle ward might only be allowed 3 polling district, when the combination of both sides of Main Marian Way might provide the basis for a fourth.

The changes I’d seek for The Meadows are not allowed  be addressed until after a major public consultation set to take place in 2019/2020.


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