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Acknowledge that the Carfax by-election was against the spirit of democracy and step down

This petition had 176 supporters

The September 4th Carfax by-election won by Labour had a shockingly low turnout of 8.6%, according to some sources the lowest in contemporary British electoral history. This is due the election being held when students (who constitute nearly 70% of the ward’s electors) were not present. 

The by-election was triggered by Labour-supporting electors upon the resignation of a sitting Labour councillor. When by-elections are necessary they should of course be held. But we feel that the timing of the move was at best unnecessary and incompetent, whilst at worst may have been a cynical attempt to manufacture an election win when students (who are historically locally more likely to vote against Labour across the spectrum) were not present. There is an attendant risk that by-elections in quiet periods can disadvantage smaller parties and independents. Oxford Labour have triggered three by-elections this summer in consecutive weeks, just months after May’s full council elections.

We believe that there are too many questions that need answering, and that the circumstances of the election go against the spirit of democracy. We cannot accept a mandate for a councillor elected on a horrifically low turnout when most electors were not present.

Consequently, we call on Councillor Alex Hollingsworth to stand down and thereby trigger a by-election at a time when his constituents are present and so all have the best chance to vote.

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