Any election is, of course, about the numbers. Votes cast, swings, turnouts and polls. Unsurprisingly there are no polls for the town council; no one has ever thought it was worth the cost but there are some numbers that are worth considering before we get to the stage of counting votes.
Wards and seats
There are eight wards in Frome and, confusingly, the number of town councillors varies from ward to ward. The important thing to remember is that you have as many votes as there are council seats in your ward. This means that if you live in Oakfield you can vote for up to two different candidates, if you live in Keyford you can vote for up to three. Here’s the full list.
You don’t have to use all your votes but you don’t get your full say if you choose not to. IfF have a candidate for every seat.
Number of candidates
That brings us on to the number of candidates you have to choose from. IfF have put forward 17 independent individuals (one for each seat) meaning that wherever you live you can use all your votes for IfF candidates. None of the political parties have put up a candidate for every seat so if you’re a national party supporter you might not be able to use all your votes for your chosen party. The Frome Times has a list of everyone standing for the town council
Between us IfF and the national parties have put up 49 candidates for the 17 town council seats. You may think that’s nothing special but it means that there is a choice to make. In many parishes and wards across the Mendip region that isn’t the case. It wasn’t the case eight years ago when between them the national parties managed just 21 candidates. In fact eight seats (47% of the total) were ‘appointed’ rather than elected!
That’s one change IfF has made just by turning up – all seats in 2011 (and this time) were democratically contested. As a direct result there were over 13,000 more votes in the 2011 election than there were in the 2007 one. That’s an increase in votes cast of 175%!
Every vote counts
Town council elections aren’t like the general election. In this most local of democratic set ups every vote counts. Back in 2011 three candidates failed to gain a seat by 12 votes or less. One of those lost out by just one vote! This means that in all wards there is no forgone conclusion and you can use your votes to affect the outcome.
Don’t forget that as well as being able to have in impact on the makeup of your next town council you also have a real choice between positive, ambitions independents and national parties.
Of course, none of this; numbers of candidates or ‘form’ from previous elections, means anything if people chose not to vote or if they just follow their party allegiance through all three ballot papers. Remember, your town council candidate is not the same person as your parliamentary candidate. Check out who you’re voting for and ask them what they can offer our town.