Today’s election results, Thursday July 28, produced the youngest town councillor in living memory. Sam Barnes at 23 years, won convincingly with 161 votes, 50 more than his nearest rival. Sam has lived in Rye since he was four, and works at Rye Golf Club, whilst continuing to study for a NVQ Level 4 in hospitality management. “I am slightly shocked but very pleased”, he remarked.
The process of counting the votes was a demonstration of democracy in
action. There was a hushed silence in the Rye Community Centre hall amongst the dozen or so witnesses, largely comprising councillors and candidates and their friends. The second ballot box appeared to have been lost en route
from Badger Gate, bit it eventually arrived at 10.30 pm and the counting began under the watchful eye of Malcolm Johnston, the returning officer. Twenty minutes of concentrated allocating voting slips to the candidates passed in an atmosphere quieter than a Quaker meeting. They were checked and rechecked before the returning officer declared Sam Barnes the winner.
Turnout was low at only 13.24% of those on the electoral roll (3566 registered voters). On the assumption that the election will have cost the Town around £3,000, every vote cast cost approximately £6.35 – the price of democracy.