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Was Sandgate Mayor Election Flawed?

May 14, 2008 4:23 PM

Sandgate residents are questioning the validity of the vote taken at the Sandgate Town Council AGM on Tuesday evening that saw Geoffrey Boot become elected as Sandgate Mayor.

When nominations were called for at the meeting, there were nominations for both current Mayor Geoffrey Boot and current Deputy Mayor Stewart Whiffin. On moving to the vote, three Councillors voted for Geoffrey Boot, and then one Councillor was asked if they were abstaining, which they said they were. The vote for Stewart Whiffin was then called, who also got three votes. As Chair of the meeting, Cllr Boot then used a casting vote to vote for himself, after which the abstaining Councillor stated that she wished to change her mind to vote for Cllr Whiffin, which was refused.

Many local residents were furious with the process. It seems quite clear that there is a right way to conduct such a vote: those in favour of the first candidate, those in favour of the second candidate, then those abstaining. For the abstention of a Councillor to be questioned and recorded before there was an opportunity to vote for the second candidate seems wrong.