Sam Barnes is elected

new Councillor Sam Barnes
new Councillor Sam Barnes

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.

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  1. Congratulations to Sam Barnes: great to have someone to represent young people on the council: he’s also a fab drummer … not sure how that will help in council meetings but he should be able to keep time.

    More serious is 13% turnout. I live on Rye Hill and as I did not receive a polling card assumed the election was something to do with the citadel: it was only because I bumped into a Rye town councillor and asked him that I realised I could vote, and did. Apparently it would of cost £1,000 to issue polling cards: I know this cost has to be measured but in my view it is damaging democracy to keep an electorate ignorant of their right to vote?

    I assume the council voted on this – who was for and who against?

  2. I knew it was to happen, but did not know when , until a leaflet was posted through my door, 2 days before!! I agree we should save money, but if the voters are to be encouraged , we need much more notice please.
    And if the excercise has saved money – perhaps it could be used to clean up the streets. They are in a disgusting state, as are the public footpaths! How about it Sam?

  3. Shame on those who feel the expense of an election was not necessary , what value democracy? “Democracy is priceless”.

  4. Dear Phil,,

    I’m sorry that you had no idea that the election was not exclusively a ‘Citadel’ affair: I was one of those who assisted Sam with delivering his election leaflets (I was delighted that a young person had come forward to get involved in Rye Town Council) and actually delivered to your house on the Tuesday evening (2 days prior to the election) and had great conversations with several of your neighbours who were also enthusiastic about a younger candidate – sorry I missed talking to you.

    However, you raise a very serious problem about the perception of what goes on in Rye, namely that very frequently it is thought that Rye is little more than the ‘Citadel’. I would like to assure you that I and a very large proportion of Rye’s councillors are very aware that this is not the case – I am frequently to be heard pointing out that over 50% of Rye’s population lives in TillingGreen/Udimore Road/Valley Park while not much more than 10% lives in the ‘Citadel’.

    It was, for me, concerns for residents in other parts of the town that prompted my vote against support for civil parking enforcement last month. While we would all welcome some enforcement I am only too aware of the problems that already afflict streets such as Military Road, The Grove, Cooper Road, etc and feel that careful consideration needs to be given to the adverse effects that civil parking enforcement could cause. I am aware that on some residential roads in Lewes District parking out of the controlled areas has created such jamming that bus routes have come under threat.


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