POLLING GETS OFF TO A BRIGHT AND BRISK START IN PENARTH

The first voters of the day arriving thsi morning at the polling station at Penarth's St Augustine's Church Hall

The first voters of the day arriving this morning at the polling station at Penarth’s St Augustine’s Church Hall on Albert Road.

The spring sunshine tempted several local residents to cast their votes early as polls opened at 07:00 this morning for today’s Welsh Assembly and Police & Crime Commissioner elections.

No fewer than 71 candidates and a dozen different political parties are  vying for the support of the voters of Penarth in today’s electoral contests. In effect two different Assembly elections are taking place – for Cardiff South and Penarth and for South Wales Central and there is a third contest to elect a South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.

Ben Gray - the Conservative candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth in today's Welsh Assembly Election arrives at Byrd Crescent Penarth to cast his votes

Ben Gray – the Conservative candidate standing for the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency in today’s Welsh Assembly Elections – arrives at Byrd Crescent Penarth to cast his votes

One of the first three voters to call at the now-renovated Byrd Crescent Community Centre polling station was local resident –  and Conservative Assembly candidate –  Ben Gray who is contesting the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency seat.

Barriers, red tape and warning notices confront voters arriving to cast their votes at Cosmeston Country Park's controversial polling station

Barriers, red tape and warning notices confronted voters arriving to cast their votes at Cosmeston Country Park’s controversial polling station this morning

At the controversial Cosmeston County Park Polling station – being used today for only the second time – the main pathway to the polling station was unhelpfully sealed-off with safety barriers and red tape – forcing voters to take a detour to reach the Ranger’s office where the booths had been set up.

The cramped Cosmeston polling station makes privacy a problem for voters marking their ballot papers

The cramped Cosmeston polling station – in the foyer of the Park Ranger’s office – makes privacy a problem for voters marking their ballot papers

The premises were criticised in 2015 for being too small and cramped – and lacking in privacy. There seemed to be not much more space available this time around.

Other polling stations across the town also seemed busy – but  there’s been no sign so far today of political party tellers lurking at the entrances asking voters to identify themselves – a controversial feature of polling in Penarth in 2012 where some tellers had (illegally) been allowed to set-up within the premises rather than remaining outside.

At Cosmeston secret ballots aren't that secret. Passers byu can see how people cast their votes through through the large picture windows.

At Cosmeston secret ballots aren’t that secret. Those who want to know how their neighbour is marking his or her  ballot paper need only look through the large picture windows.

Up to 40 Vale of Glamorgan Council staff  who have been appointed as temporary “presiding officers” or poll clerks in Penarth for today’s elections, are being paid double-salaries for the day.

All the polling stations in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency are actually being run by Cardiff Council – and it’s Cardiff Council which is employing the polling station staff.  However the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council decided that those of its staff who are being engaged by Cardiff Council for today will not have their Vale Council salaries docked for the day – even though they’ll also be paid by Cardiff Council.

The Vale Council ‘cabinet’ has agreed that staff engaged by Cardiff Council  for polling day in Penarth will  be entitled to claim “leave with payfor today .These arrangements  only cover polling stations in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency and nowhere else in the Vale .

 

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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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19 Responses to POLLING GETS OFF TO A BRIGHT AND BRISK START IN PENARTH

  1. ColinD says:

    Who in their right mind would put a polling station in Cosmeston!!! you can’t even swing a cat in that hut!!

  2. Archie says:

    Just voted and noted that the regional list form described Plaid Cymru as Plaid Cymru Party of Wales-Leader Leanne Wood in Welsh and in English. She then appears first in the list of Plaid candidates. No mention of the leaders of any other Parties
    Three mentions of Leanne Wood, two in bold type! Does this not give her and Plaid an advantage so disqualifying her and possibly make all votes for Plaid void?

    To whom does one make a formal representation?

  3. Martin Coffee says:

    Cosmeston is not even the worst polling station in Penarth. Don’t forget the portable cabin and toilets in the Hungary Horse car park.

    • ColinD says:

      very true – perhaps our local councillors need to make better representation to the LA in future as these facilities are clearly not adequate!!!

      • Kevin Mahoney says:

        Thank you for your observations and comments ColinD. Myself and my fellow Sully councillor who cover the area in question received the grand total of one complaint between us over the siting of the new polling station following last years election in which it was used for the first time, we actually received many more when the portakabin polling station was located over the road in Falcon Grove.

        I made representations during the consultation process in regards to the proposals to re-site the booth to Cosmeston.

        My representations were:-

        1) That more people would have to cross a busy main road which does not have a pedestrian crossing despite our many requests for one to be sited there.

        2) Following the one contact made following last years election, that the cramped provision for anyone in a wheelchair to vote would inevitably block the entrance to the polling station if in use when others wished to enter the station.

        Both my reservations were noted but dismissed.

        Having visited the polling station today I feel that my point in regards to the wheelchair bay does hold.

        However I was assured by the polling staff that if anyone in a wheel chair attended, that the polling booth stand would be moved further into the room for the period that a wheelchair bound person took to vote so as not to cause any problems for either the person in the wheelchair or those entering the building.

        I don’t feel that the situation is totally satisfactory but am slightly reassured that the polling staff are more than capable of carrying out the actions described.

        I will be passing on my observations from today to the Vale’s electoral office in the days following the election including any comments from ward residents who may wish to contact myself or fellow Sully and Lavernock councillor Bob Penrose.

        Thank you once again for your contribution to this topic.

        Kevin Mahoney
        Cllr Sully and Lavernock ward

    • Michael Garland says:

      Cosmeston forms part of the Sully and Lavernock Ward, and is not in Penarth.

      • ColinD says:

        Hi Kevin

        Thank you for taking the time to provide such a comprehensive response, it’s appreciated. Obviously the disabled access is an issue another would be that of any blind voters having to cross such a busy road. In any case, it’s one thing voting in lovely spring sunshine, should we have any future autumn elections like that last PCC etc. then I would think that location is most certainly not suitable given it’s poor lighting and walking surfaces through the car park. I any case for the time being its a moot point.

        Michael Garland, there a plenty of polling stations outside of ward in the Vale so your argument is invalid unless you want to lobby the authority to move ALL outside ward polling stations back into the correct ward, could be something to do over the summer!!

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    … or even Hungry Horse!

  5. AK says:

    What a bunch of miserable whingers.

    If they created a luxurious polling booth with velour cushions, you’d moan about wasting money.

    Some people lose their lives casting a vote (and I don’t mean crossing the road).

    Just be grateful that in this democracy we are lucky to get to vote; you get the result that the voters deserve.

  6. Louise says:

    Why don’t people get a postal vote? Then they can vote in the privacy of their home at a time that suits them and stop whinging about having to cross a road to a polling station or lack of privacy!

  7. Michael Garland says:

    The Vale Council Electoral Services chose the Rangers Office in Cosmeston Park as they didn’t want Lavernock voters voting in Penarth despite the Lower Penarth Community Centre being assessed to hold two polling stations. The new look Rangers Office has been ‘enlarged’ but unable to tell the difference. Having the Polling Booth in front of ‘sensored’ doors proved amusing, plus people being able to look through the glass fronted office to watch you vote. Voting interrupted on a few occasions when the Park Rangers walked through the Polling Station. So much for a secret ballot.

  8. 249ers says:

    Although you can see who is voting at Cosmeston Park it would need to be a very tall person with A1 eyesight to see what was actually being written on the paper. You could say the same for many other Polling booths. If people are so concerned that others might see where they put their cross postal voting is an option open to all.

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