SLDC chief praises staff for 'magnificent' election effort

The Westmorland Gazette: SLDC chief: Staff have been magnificent SLDC chief: Staff have been magnificent

SLDC chief executive Lawrence Conway has praised as 'magnificent' the role of staff and volunteers in this year's local elections.

Mr Conway said he had been impressed by the 'clockwork' running of this year's polling, which is one of the authority's toughest 24-hour periods of the year.

Speaking at Kendal Leisure Centre as he and council director David Sykes shifted chairs and tables following a day of vote counting and verification, Mr Conway explained: "This takes a year of preparation and we're in election mode every year and we have a fantastic team at the council who are the absolute model of efficiency when it comes to this.

"We get volunteers from the community; staff who turn up to man the polling stations and then come here to make the counts and make it run smoothly - it really is a fabulous contribution from everybody."

He added: "On the polling stations they work from 7am till 10pm but then they drop the ballot boxes off here after 10pm so we're here normally until about 2am getting everything ready for the next day and then back at half past eight in the morning ready to verify the votes. It's a long couple of days for the staff and volunteers."

"The fundamental basis of democracy in this country is about this today...people come and they vote for the people they think are going to be able to do the best for them and their community, and you get the people you vote for.

"It's the absolute foundation of what we've got...whether you like it or not..and if you can come up with a better model, great, go-ahead, but this really works."

Turnout in the district elections was 47.46% this year.

The South Lakeland result for the European Parliamentary Elections will appear on the www.southlakeland.gov website tomorrow after the millions of votes across the continent have been counted.

Turnout in South Lakeland for the Euros was 44.75% of those eligible to vote, said SLDC.

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