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Background to the Polling Stations Review

Background to the review

Under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, the council has a duty to carry out a review of polling arrangements with the Dorset Council area by 31 January 2020.

As part of this process, the council is consulting with Dorset Councillors, parish and town councils, local political parties and any person or organisation with particular expertise in relation to access to premises for people with different forms of disability. Representations and comments are also invited from electors within the Dorset Council area or within a Parliamentary constituency which is partly within the area.

A notice of review has been displayed at the council’s offices and on our website.

Definitions

Polling district: is a geographical area created by the sub-division of an electoral area, i.e. a constituency, district ward or division into smaller parts to facilitate effective and convenient voting. Polling districts should not contain parts of different parishes unless special circumstances exist. Each polling district forms a separate section of the electoral register.

Polling place: is a designated building or area in which polling stations will be located. It might be tightly defined, eg the polling station itself, or could be a wider area comprising all or part of a polling district. In some areas in Dorset, polling places have been designated to be coterminous with the polling districts.

Polling station: is the room or area within the polling place where voting takes place. Unlike polling districts and polling places which are fixed, polling stations are chose by the Returning Officer for specific elections.

The review process

The council publishes a notice of holding the review and consults the Area Returning Officer for each Parliamentary Constituency in the council’s area, Dorset Councillors, parish and town councils, local political parties and any person or organisation with particular expertise in relation to access to premises for people with different forms of disability on its proposed polling arrangements.

Representations and comments are also invited from electors within the Dorset Council area or within a Parliamentary constituency which is partly within the area.

This consultation document will be published on our website and other relevant information and documents can be inspected upon request at the Electoral Services office.

This complies with Schedule A1 to the Representation of the People 1983 which sets out the steps to be followed by the review.

Proposed polling arrangements

The principles underlying the council’s proposals for polling arrangements are:

  • (a) To retain the current arrangements for coterminous polling places and polling districts as far as possible, to minimise disruption to voters
  • (b) To try and identify new polling station in areas where the existing provision is inadequate
  • (c) To ensure, as far as practicable, that polling stations are accessible to people with disabilities; and
  • (d) To ensure that all electors have such reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances

The Polling District Baseline Document sets out the details of all of the current polling districts, polling places and polling stations which were used at the recent 2 May 2019 local elections and any issues identified by polling staff or inspectors. This information is set out in the ‘Comments’ column.

There are some polling places in which it is either necessary or desirable to identify alternative polling stations as the existing provision is inadequate. Suggestions for alternative stations would be particularly welcome.

It should be noted that a review undertaken by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England came into force just prior to the elections for Dorset Council on 2 May and the Community Governance Review for Weymouth so there may be some need for changes to be made.

Representations and comments

Anyone wishing to make a submission in respect of these arrangements should do so no later than Tuesday 27 August 2019.

Details of representations received will be made available for inspection at the offices and will be published at the end of the review.

Next steps

A final set of proposals following the initial consultation will be published on 13 September by the Returning Officer and available for comment until 28 October. A report will then be submitted to the Council meeting on 21 November 2019 for Councillors to consider the proposals and any representations received in order to reaching a decision the future polling arrangements. Details of the agreed polling arrangements will then be made available to the public and will be implemented for the Police and Crime Commissioner election on 7 May 2020.

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