The East Sussex County Council elections held on May 4th this year held a lot of positive results for the Wealden Green party. We had candidates standing in 14 of the 15 electoral divisions, and across those 14 divisions we polled an average of 9.37%. You can find full results of the election on the Wealden District Council website.
This year we followed the national Green Party’s “Target to Win” election strategy and ran a strong and well-organised campaign focused on the Forest Row and Groombridge division. Members were out canvassing starting in late January and continued to do take action right the way through to election day when we were door knocking and giving people lifts to the polling station. The results were incredible. The Green vote more than tripled from the 2013 election, when we got 433 votes in this division, and our candidate, Keith Obbard, got 1406 votes this time. Many of us went to the count on May 5th and I can report that it was a very tense and exciting atmosphere as the ballot papers piled up in our tray. Frustratingly we were just 62 votes short of unseating the incumbent Conservative councillor! But we forced a recount and put some very worried looks on the faces of the Conservatives who were there.
This means we went from 15.7% of the vote in 2013 to 43.9% this year, which shows how effective the strategy can be, and also how many people like our policies when they get a chance to hear about them. The turnout also increased from 30% to 40%, and I’m sure that our activities helped to engage many people in the district who normally would not vote to do so this time. Many times when out canvassing we heard from people that this was the first time in their lives that a political party had knocked on their door or put a leaflet through their letterbox. One of the reasons people don’t vote is that they feel forgotten or taken for granted, and a big part of our success was just making the effort to communicate with them.
Following hard on the heels of this election, of course, is the general election. The Wealden Green Party committee polled the members to ask if we should stand a candidate and the response was overwhelmingly that we should. We held a ballot on May 5th and elected Colin Stocks as our candidate. You can find more details about him on the Elections page.
The local election campaign has exhausted us so we will not be doing any major campaigning for the general election. Instead we’re encouraging anyone who would like to get involved in the general election to help out with Caroline Lucas’ re-election campaign in Brighton Pavillion.