Mansfield supermarket ‘should house polling stations’- councillor

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Supermarkets should be considered for housing polling stations to help boost the turn out for future elections, a Mansfield councillor has said.

Local election turnouts are notoriously low, and Coun Kate Allsop said it would be ‘interesting’ to see the outcome if people could register their votes while buying their weekly shopping at the same time.

NMAC11-1044-2''Mansfield Tesco, Chesterfield Road.

NMAC11-1044-2''Mansfield Tesco, Chesterfield Road.

She was speaking at the recent Mansfield District Council meeting after it was heard that a recommended polling station in Mansfield was no longer available, although an alternative had been found.

The owners of the venue 281 Nottingham Road said that because of bookings, they could not longer offer the premises,but a suitable replacement has been found at the Oakham Suite, also on Nottingham Road.

But Coun Allsop, who represents the Oakham ward, suggested in future supermarkets should be considered.

She said: “I know a few years ago there many different trials on one particular district that did put polling stations in supermarkets and found that a lot of people came and voted, who would not normally have voted.

“They are open for the hours needed for an election and it would be very interesting to see what sort of figures we would get.

“I have no objections to this (the decision to switch to the Oakham Suite) but there is a large supermarket near to the boundary of this ward.”

The council heard that such an idea would be too late for the upcoming European Parliamentary elections planned for May but could be considered later in the year for the 2015 local and general elections.

Earlier this year a row erupted in Mansfield after Wainwright Primary Academy had petitioned the authority to scrap plans to use their Harrop White Road premises as a polling station, as it disrupted the children’s education but their claim was rejected by councillors.