Following our acclaimed "Open Primary" in Tonbridge & Malling which led to the selection of Tom Tugendhat, I am delighted to report the Chatham & Aylesford will be piloting a "postal primary" to select Local Government candidates in a trail ward. I believe this is a national first!
All credit to the Association Officers and Management Committee for their vision in agreeing and to the three candidates for their enthusiasm.
Here is the explanatory covering letter from Tracey Crouch MP which will front the information booklet delivered to every registered voter along with a ballot paper. There will also be the option to vote online, using a unique security code to avoid multiple voting.
The cost of the trial are being underwritten by the Association, though we are confident of recouping much of the outlay via voluntary donations. We estimate the final cost will be around the same as a colour newsletter, though this could depend on the level of participation and the number of respondents who helpfully put a stamp ion their envelope!
The three applicants are producing their A4 letters / personal statements over the next week and we aim to deliver the voting packs w/c Monday 6 October.
As always, I will keep you informed.
PS: A number of you have enquired how this complies with the Mandatory Selection Rules. Allow me to explain. The ward in question does not have an active branch, so responsibility for the selection rests with the Association Executive Council. As with any selection, the Executive ratifies the decision and has the power to appoint candidates. This ballot is therefore to seek the views of the wider community, which will be reported to the Executive which (as always) will make the final decision. The exercise, therefore, is not changing the rules in any way - simply providing the Executive with a greater degree of local information and knowledge which will inform the decision making process.