Tense wait for Bridgend candidates as lots drawn for first time in 30 years
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
A councillor said he “felt sick” when he heard that one ward in the local elections in Bridgend would have to be decided by a blind vote.
After two candidates tied for the second and final seat for Brackla East and Coychurch Lower, it was suggested that a coin toss might have to carried out to decide the winner.
With Labour having already won one seat with Eugene Caparros and the tie being between Conservative candidate Rebeka Fudge and Labour’s Simon Griffiths, the stakes were high.
After a number of recounts it was decided that the final seat would be decided by a blind vote, with Returning Officer Mark Shephard choosing one of two identical envelopes – each with one of the candidates’ names in.
After a tense wait, it was revealed that Simon Griffiths’s name had been drawn.
“It was quite an experience,” said Simon, who has claimed a seat at county borough level for the first time.
“It very rarely happens. I spoke to the returning officer and he said that he has never presided over one of those in his career so it is great to be making a little bit of history on my first attempt at being a councillor.
“I was thinking whatever happens here, it is going to be okay, but I convinced myself that I am not going to win. Anything from that then is a positive.
“I am a fairly calm person. The counters were fantastic in their patience for counting three times. A huge credit to [them]. It was a good outcome for me obviously, but very sad for Rebeka who I’m sure will go on to do great things.”
Cllr John Spanswick, who was re-elected to BCBC, said he had never seen anything like it in his 30 years at the council.
He said: “It has been close [before], but it has never [gone down] to a draw. It was the first time in my 30 years. It is cruel.
“We were told there were three different ways of doing it – we could toss a coin, draw sticks or [do a] blind vote. I felt sick to be honest.”
Rebeka, who was also running for the first time like Simon, said: “Getting so close is difficult, but there is no other way to decide it and congratulations to Simon.
“I hope he does a good job for the people of Brackla East and Coychurch Lower. It was a very close one.”
Rebeka, who is just 21, said: “I plan on standing again because I am passionate about Brackla and I hope I do better next time. I suppose there is no other way of doing it. It is 50 50 either way.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.