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The unique places you could be voting at in Cornwall

The unique places you could be voting at in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 1:11pm 14th November 2019. (Updated at 2:42pm 15th November 2019)

Some of the most unique places you could be voting at in Cornwall during the general election have been revealed.

Voters will be heading back to the polls to cast their ballots on December 12th, after MPs agreed to a pre-Christmas election.

Polling cards will be dropping through residents' letterboxes in the next few days - and Cornwall Council is encouraging people to 'act sooner rather than later' if they need a postal vote.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday, November 26th. Completed forms must be received by the Cornwall Council elections team before this deadline.

Postal vote packs will then be issued around November 27th to registered voters who requested them before November 5th. Anyone who applied after this date should expect their postal pack during the first week of December. 

Some of the most interesting places you could vote at are:

  • Caerhays Castle - Some voters in the 2019 general election will be marking their cross in a nineteenth century castle near Truro. The castle dates from 1370 and is set in 100 acre-grounds.
  • Paradise Park (café area) - People voting in the Hayle area can make their choice surrounded by penguins, parrots and red pandas at Paradise Park wildlife sanctuary.
  • Polzeath Marine Wildlife area (visitor centre) - In the centre of Polzeath, nestled between the shops and the pitch and putt is Polzeath Marine Centre, which will be turned into a polling station on December 12.
  • Tolvaddon Fire Station - A meeting room at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service's headquarters in Camborne will double up as a polling station.
  • Portable cabin, Wheal Martyn Museum - Wheal Martyn is home to the UK's only china clay mining museum, and its portable cabin will be put to use as a polling station.
  • Kayak Store, Rising Sun car park, Portmellon - Voters in Portmellon can cast their vote right next to their local - in a kayak store.
  • Cathedral Offices, Old Cathedral School, Truro - The former school building on Cathedral Close is now called the 'Old Cathedral School' and is now used as an office building - and a polling station.
vote election

Here's everything you need to know ahead of polling day:

How does voting work?

In a general election, the UK's 46 million voters can vote to choose an MP for their area. 

Anyone aged 18 or over can vote, as long as they are registered and a British citizen or qualifying citizen of the Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland.

EU citizens cannot vote in a general election unless they have dual nationality.

Voting takes place at local polling stations, set up in places like community centres, churches and schools. Voters put a cross on the ballot paper beside the name of their chosen candidate and drop it into a sealed ballot box.

How do I register to vote?

By visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and filling out the relevant forms.

Alternatively, you can register by post. Download the forms here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-to-vote-if-youre-living-in-the-uk.

An 'easy-read' guide on how to register to vote is also available.

Who runs the country during a general election?

Parliament is dissolved 25 working days before a general election. Once this happens, MPs will lose their status and the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery issues writs of election to local Returning Officers.

MPs are allowed to carry on casework provided they do not give the impression they remain an MP and the constituents concerned are happy with the arrangement.

Government ministers remain in office and in charge of their departments until a new government is formed.

In the case of a serious event, the Cobra emergency committee would still be activated, with relevant ministers' present. 

By convention, after Parliament is dissolved, a period called 'purdah' begins, when ministers' activities and the use of official resources are restricted. 
Pre-election restrictions also apply to more than 440,000 civil servants working in the UK. They are staff who are politically impartial and work for government departments or agencies. 

In this period, they aren't allowed to do any work for party political purposes. That includes answering queries on new policies outlined in a manifesto, or commenting on proposals. 

So far as local authorities are concerned, they are not affected in the same way as the civil service, but during the period between the notice of an election and the election itself (November 11-December 12), local authorities are restricted in terms of what they can publish and broadcast.

polling election vote

Who organises an election in Cornwall?

Cornwall Council and its Electoral Services team is responsible for organising all elections in Cornwall - from sending out household enquiry forms to make sure that people are registered to vote, to running count centres during a general election.

There are six parliamentary constituencies in Cornwall. The Isles of Scilly is part of the St Ives parliamentary constituency.
The Electoral Services team manages individual electoral registration, undertakes the annual canvass of all residential households, and publishes the register of electors.

How much does a general election cost?

The total paid from the Government's Consolidated Fund for the costs of the May 2015 UK Parliamentary general election was £114.7m, while 2017's snap election cost £140m.

A general election in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly costs around £1 million and this is funded by the government using a set sum per constituency. That sum enables the Council to book venues, pay staff, organise the printing and delivery of postal ballots, and make sure an effective election is run to guidelines that are set nationally.

Where can I go to vote?

There are 442 polling stations up and down the length of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, with more than 1,500 members of staff involved in making sure polling day runs smoothly.

While most people will find themselves casting their vote in village halls, community centres or schools, a few will find themselves marking their ballots in altogether more unusual locations. 

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