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9 October 2011, 06:00
Hatfield Fire Station is being used as a polling station today for the Polish Parliamentary Elections. This is a big step for Polish Communities in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire as they have had to travel to London or Cambridge to vote in previous elections.
Hatfield is in easy reach for people from all over Hertfordshire, and only half an hour from Luton where there is a large Polish Community. Michal Siewniak, a Community Development Officer in Hertfordshire says he hopes having a local polling station will mean more people will vote.
Hatfield Fire Station has never been used as a polling station in an international election before but will be one of 47 open today. The Fire and Rescue crews in Hatfield have close links with the local Polish community and have worked with them on many cultural and sporting projects over the years.
Voting in an election for a country you don't live in might seem meaningless to some people but Mags Brady works for the Polish British Integration Centre in Bedford, she has lived in the UK for around 20 years but says the result of the Polish election will impact her life in the UK.
“We look to the government for support in various areas one that’s quite important to me is the education and promotion of the polish language amongst polish children arriving in Britain, making sure that they stay in touch with their culture.”
Michal Siewniak and his team are setting up the polling station which will be open from 7am to 9pm. If you are a Polish national and you have not yet registered to vote it is now too late to do so.