Friday, February 20, 2004

From the Sun-Sentinel:

Woman in trouble for registering cows … to vote

LONDON – Brenda Gould is in trouble again for registering her cows as voters.

For the second year running, the woman from Newmarket, near Cambridge in eastern England, has listed two names on the registration form who turned out to be cows, East Cambridgeshire District Council said Thursday.

The previous year, in addition to registering two cows as “Henry and Sophie Bull,” she listed “Jake Woofles,” later found to be a dog, as eligible to vote in local government elections, the council said.

This year she indicated that her address had been split into two properties, that she resided in one part and that two other persons lived in the second, a council spokesman said. The persons she claimed lived in the second property were, in fact, her cows, the spokesman said.

Gould had been scheduled to appear at Ely Magistrates Court on Tuesday but did not arrive. She was convicted in her absence and ordered to pay a 100 pound (US$189) fine and 110 pounds (US$208) in costs.

“This was the second time that Mrs. Gould had given false information on electoral forms and so, regrettably, the council felt it was necessary to take action to prevent this abuse of the election system from continuing,” said Maggie Camp, the council’s senior legal assistant.

Gould later said she and her husband Barry had put the names down as a joke because they had been irritated when the council addressed a letter to the occupants of their barn.

“We ignored it and then someone came around to ask why we hadn’t filled it in,” she said.

“We just thought they were being stupid. So my husband said, ‘if they want to know who’s living in the barn we’ll tell them.’ So we did. We didn’t tell any lies. We just put down the names of the animals.

“It was a joke that’s all gone a bit haywire, really. We never thought it would come to this,” she said. “I don’t suppose we’ll be doing it again.”

Whoever said voting was all bull?