When a recorded vote is not recorded

At the February 2018 meeting of Much Wenlock Town Council there was apparently some discussion about the proposal that the current Mayor, Cllr Venning, should serve a second year in office. It is unusual in modern times for this to happen – usually the Mayor serves for only one year. A number of Mayors have served more than once, but not in consecutive years.

Because there was a modest amount of controversy in the Council chamber about this evidently well-rehearsed proposal – Cllr Harper is reported to have read out a prepared statement supporting Cllr Venning as Mayor-elect – a councillor asked for a “recorded vote”. The Town Council’s Standing Orders 3.r) state “Unless standing orders provide otherwise, voting on a question shall be by a show of hands. At the request of a councillor, the voting on any question shall be recorded so as to show whether each councillor present and voting gave his vote for or against that question. Such a request shall be made before moving on to the next item of business on the agenda.”1-450446823-300x300

Putting aside the fact that “his vote” rather presumes that councillors are gender-specific, it is interesting to note that the Town Council minute No: 9 doesn’t record the names of the councillors that voted for, against or abstained. Instead the minutes stated that “A recorded vote was requested and with seven votes in favour and two abstentions;
it was AGREED that Cllr. Graham Edgcumbe Venning be nominated as Mayor for 2018/2019.”

So, despite the Town Council agreeing a “recorded vote”, we don’t know who voted for and who voted against. A recorded vote was requested, but the vote isn’t on record. What was the point of that?

2 thoughts on “When a recorded vote is not recorded

  1. Since the notes of the meeting are public documents you could attend the offices and ask to see the record of the vote and then publish it here. A member of the public could also ask a question at the next meeting about why these details do not appear in the minutes, and a supplementary one asking for the detail of the recorded vote, the answer to this, at least, should appear in the town council minutes. Finally, a councillor has the right to challenge the minutes at the next meeting and ask why this record does not appear.

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