Hunt supporters nationwide have rallied to rural affairs minister Alun Michael’s challenge to make themselves heard at the ballot box.

In the run-up to this election, an army of people is getting involved, virtually all of whom had never taken part in the electoral process before, beyond voting themselves. Now they are seasoned campaigners.

They’ve been stuffing envelopes; putting up posters; pavement-pounding, leafleting and canvassing; all the while braving voter apathy, bad-tempered dogs — and even John Prescott.

And it isn’t too late to help — in fact, now is the time to do so. Vote-OK, the office set up by former Countryside Alliance Action Office director Charles Mann,
is co-ordinating the effort. As of 20 April, 785,000 leaflets had been delivered; 58,000 envelopes filled, and the website is getting 2,500 hits daily.

“This feedback is only from 49 of the 136 target constituencies, so real figures are much higher,” says Mann. “People don’t want to be left out and are realising that this could actually make a difference.”

What you can do

  • Canvassing becomes more important in the final week, especially when candidates are also out on the streets. You will be fully briefed on how to do it
  • Bombard your local papers with hard-hitting letters, not necessarily about hunting, but raising local issues
  • Turn up to public events to support your candidate
  • “Turning out the vote” on election day is crucial. People are needed to act as tellers at polling stations, to drive voters, phone people up and knock on doors and keep voters rolling in. If you can offer a spare pair of hands/feet, you’ll be given something to do. Vote-OK directors are drawing up rotas of those able to help on the day, and can put you in touch with local contacts
  • To find out more, visit www.vote-ok.uk or e-mail info@vote-ok.co.uk or (tel: 01367 850496/fax: 01367 850 426)
  • Find out what action hunt supporters have been taking around the country in the run up to polling day in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 April, ’05)


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