Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Modernise Democracy - if only to save the trees

In this day and age when we do more and more electronically it appears that one of the last bastions of paper based working is the democratic process itself.  Up and down the country there will be many thousands of candidates for election filling out the reams of paper that are required to be submitted before one can become a candidate and for supporting the electoral process itself.  There are two flurries of activity - first getting your nomination papers in, and the papers supporting the counting process and then later after the count having to submit your election return.

So just how many papers are involved well you have:
  1. Nomination Paper
  2. Candidates Consent to Nomination
  3. Notice of Appointment of Election Agent
  4. Certification of Candidate of Political Party (if relevant)
  5. Notice of Appointment of Polling Agents - in other words who can attend the polling stations for a candidate
  6. Notice of Appointment of Counting Agents - who can come to the count with the candidate
  7. Notice of Appointment of Agents to Attend the Opening of the Postal Votes
  8. Return of Candidate's Election Expenses
  9. Return of Expenses
  10. Declaration by Candidate as to Election Exepnses
  11. Declaration by Election Agent as to Election Expenses
  12. Declaration of Expenses
and of course you have the bureaucracy that needs to manage all these pieces of paper for each of the candidates in each of the wards for each Council throughout the country.

The paperwork for parish councils is slightly less - but not much.

I'm all for proper records and accountability - but surely we can modernise and improve this process?