Election fever comes to Ipswich

HUNDREDS of voters are expected to flock to a polling station in Ipswich this weekend for a general election.But it will not be to cast votes for a UK general election- as many had expected-but a Polish one.

HUNDREDS of voters are expected to flock to a polling station in Ipswich this weekend for a general election.

But it will not be to cast votes for a UK general election- as many had expected-but a Polish one.

There are 450 Poles registered to elect in the town, but it is thought up to 800 will turn up on tomorrow to vote for either prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski or liberal opposition leader Donald Tusk in the country's parliamentary election.

Ipswich Council was contacted by the consulate in London to ask if a polling station could be set up in the town, given the high numbers of Polish immigrants.


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A council spokeswoman said: “There are 450 Polish registered voters in Ipswich but we think there may be 300 or 400 more coming to vote from surrounding areas.

“London was previously the nearest place for them to go and vote but as we have quite a thriving Polish community, it seemed a good idea to have a polling station here.”

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The polling station will be set up in St Mary's hall, in St Mary's Church, Woodbridge Road, between 6am and 8pm.

The church is seen as the centre of the town's Polish community and holds a regular Mass in Polish.

When elections were last held in Poland just two years ago, there were only two places in the UK that they could vote and both were in London. This time round, 20 polling stations have been set up across the UK.

In 2005 the UK granted free movement of workers when Poland became part of the EU. Although official Home Office figures show 430,395 Polish nationals have registered to work in Britain since 2004, some experts claim the actual number is closer to one million.

How do you think the town has adapted to its Polish community? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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