A group of angry Maryport voters have filed a High Court petition over last month's county council elections. Dawn Charlton, the British National Party candidate there won an incredible 41% of the vote in the May elections.
She was narrowly 'defeated' by Labour. Questions are now being asked as to whether that was the right and fair result.
The petitioners have identified eight ways in which the election was unfair.
They say electors were improperly prevented from voting by the actions of the Returning Officer or his staff. Their claims include that people were not added to the electoral register or postal voting list, despite applying in time, and that some postal ballots were not sent to or received by electors who had requested them.
If the petition is successful, the High Court could rule the election void or order it to be held again.
Cllr Clive Jefferson, the election agent for Dawn Charlton, said:
"I believe there is a serious case to answer. I note that an Independent candidate in a Workington Division of Cumbria County Council has made similar complaints in respect of the same Returning Officer and has also lodged an election petition and police complaint. Keith Little should do the honourable thing, resign, and re-fight the election. People in Maryport feel they have been cheated."
Keith Little hasn't said much in response. His lame excuse was: "I am just getting on with my job, that's all I can do."
We say it is not "all you can do" Little, you should step down right now.
Police are also taking an interest. They have taken statements and a case of electoral fraud is now being assessed by the CPS in relation to Maryport South.
And in other news the Returning Officer at the centre of the controversy, Harry Dyke, has today announced his retirement, quite a coincidence.
Take Action: Why not contact Keith Little and politely give him your thoughts on the matter? You may well feel, as we do he should resign as he has a questionable mandate to represent the people of Maryport South. Let's see if he can win a fair election!
His contact details are below:
24 St Helen's Avenue
Phone: 01900 812981
Mobile: 07946 343010
Readers have asked for a better copy of the letter in the Maryport Election Fraud story. We have reproduced the letter below, if you wanted to send a letter into the Times and Star the email addresses are here: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
People in the past died to enable ordinary people today to vote. As we mark the centenary of the death of suffragette Emily Davison who was killed stepping in front of the king's horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby, the people of Maryport should be righteously outraged that, a hundred years on from that dramatic day, some of us are still being denied the vote - not in some far away land but here in England.
I have read with great interest over the last few weeks several emotive and clearly wrong allegations against our Town Councillor Dawn Charlton. I would like to put the record straight.
FACT - the Maryport division of Cumbria County Council had the highest turn out in Allerdale at the May 2nd elections. This is due to one factor. For the first time ever in Maryport's one sided and dull political history a group of local people led by very popular and well respected local lass Dawn Charlton spoke to the people of Maryport in a language we understood and on issues which resonated with us, engaging hundreds of people in the political process for the very first time. Because Dawn took the trouble to come round, see and talk to us she gained our full trust and backing. That is why the Labour vote stayed the same as it was four years ago and the BNP vote rose by over 450!
To the weekly naysayers such as the forever complaining Donald Leighton and his like I say this - many of us - and I am one of them - were denied our votes by Allerdale Council. In my case my postal ballot paper was accidentally destroyed before I could return it; I did everything possible to get a replacement and had every possible difficulty put in my way by Council staff to prevent my voting with the result that by close of poll on 2 May I had been unable to cast my vote.
So angry did this make me, especially when I heard that I was not alone in wanting to vote that I and three other voters have taken the step necessary to have the whole business sorted out. We have launched an election petition at the High Court in London.
Harry Dyke, Allerdale’s Chief Executive in charge of elections, has hastily and arrogantly dismissed all complaints in the local paper. It appears that he feels able to do this without any thorough investigation. Lord Denning once said: "Be you ever so high, the law is above you". Harry Dyke may have reason to pause and consider those wise words.
In the spirit of the suffragettes and all those who fought for the right to vote I and others have petitioned the High Court in London to look at the way in which people in Maryport were denied their right to cast a ballot. We have highlighted eight ways in which democracy was denied in Maryport. This petition has now been accepted by the High Court and we all look forward to the election being re-run to prove who really won!!
Although we already know of a large number of voters who were deprived of their right to vote there may be others about which we have yet to find out. I invite anyone who wanted to cast a vote at the May election and was not allowed to do so to contact Dawn Charlton by emailing her at email@example.com, or write to her at 113 Ewanrigg Road or ring or text her at 07788 958066.
Maryport voter, ROBBED OF MY VOTE. (Name and address supplied)