My colleague Jeremy Rowe has tabled a question for next week's full council meeting asking how many second home owners in Cornwall cast votes in Cornwall in the recent General Election.
According to the Electoral Commission, a person is not entitled to register to vote (far less actually cast a ballot) simply because they own a property. In order to qualify, a home owner has to actually live in the property for the majority of the year. The only exceptions are service personnel and students. The latter genuinely live in two places and are allowed to register in both.
When it comes to casting a vote, no-one can cast more than one ballot in a general election. Those people who are genuinely entitled to be registered in two places can choose where they cast their vote, but it can only be in one place. With a paper based record system, there is no way of automatically checking on the day, but Cornwall Council can check against the second homes register (those properties where a second home council tax discount is claimed) to find out if anyone has registered to vote and should not have. By checking with other councils, they can find out if anyone has cast more than one vote.
We shall see on Tuesday whether any of Cornwall's election results (some very close) may have been affected by such votes.