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Wednesday 4 April 2007

Bournemouth's 'deaf and dumb' election ban

Dorset Echo
Council condemned for offensive election notes

CHARITIES have criticised a council for using offensive terms such as "lunatics" and "idiots" in election guidelines.

According to the notes for candidates issued by Bournemouth Borough Council "lunatics and idiots" were disqualified from standing as councillors along with "deaf and dumb persons".


Cllr Ron Whittaker said: "People do often think that councillors are idiots but I have never seen it in print before".


Following enquiries from the Daily Echo, the council has now amended the document.

The deputy returning officer Matthew Pitcher said that the terms were included in error because they are legal terms.

He said people defined in law as "lunatics and idiots" or "deaf and dumb" could still apply to be councillors.


Matt Pitcher, electoral services officer, said it was a mistake and
that the terms were taken directly from election law dating back to

"Of course such language is certainly not acceptable today," he added.

"The terminology used as part of our election pack to candidates was
unfortunately taken directly from a piece of election law which dates
from 1766 but is still current today.

Did their Web Team get it right though?

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