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Electoral Commission: Voters denied democratic rights

October 19, 2012

Pic: © Electoral Commission UK

The Electoral Commission has called on the Government to change the law so that voters are never again refused the opportunity to cast their vote, as happened at some polling stations during the last general election.

The Commission is continuing to urge the Government to accept an amendment to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill during its Committee Stages in the Lords. The Commission welcomes the Lords Constitution Committee report, published today, in which it agrees the amendment is necessary for all elections in the UK to allow voters already inside, or queuing to enter, a polling station as the poll closes at ten pm to be issued with a ballot paper so they can still cast their vote.

The Commission recommended this important change following the high-profile problems of queues at some polling stations at the 2010 UK Parliamentary general election which prevented more than 1,200 people from casting their votes.

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission says :

‘In 2010 some voters waiting in queues at polling stations were unable to cast their vote. Good planning can go some way to prevent this from happening again, but it is not enough on its own. Even the best laid plans can go awry.   This simple amendment to the law provides the solution to that problem.’

The Scottish Government changed legislation for the May 2012 Scottish local government elections to implement our recommendation. For the first time at any UK election, three people who arrived at their polling stations before the close of poll on 3 May but had not been issued with a ballot paper by 10pm were able to vote because of this change.

Jenny Watson adds:

 ‘There is no good reason for not doing this. It’s a simple change that will provide an important safeguard for all electors, without adding to the administrative burden of those running elections”

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One Response to Electoral Commission: Voters denied democratic rights

  1. Brian Norgate on October 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Funny that the Electoral Commission should say this, they are not fit for purpose as the several complaints made against Chris Huhnes Election spend and his declaration clearly show.

    Of the questions asked by the Times, Guardian, mail on Sunday and Daily Mail reporters show no proper answers were given to satisfy the journalist. Professional judgement.

    Harry Cole of the Guido Fawkes web site http://www.order order.com asked questions about the Itchen valley printers run from 109a leigh Road by Chris Huhne
    and Councillor Anne Winstanley, again no answers to satisfy the questions asked.

    The long term loans over 10k by Councillor Anne Winstanley on the Electoral Commision web site have not been answered, yet the independant group showed that none of the money was spent on the councillors election expenses, so what was the money spent on and after two years since the cut of date when is our MP going to ensure the interest free loan is repaid.

    Its interesting that other councils do not use the counting of votes method at EBC, at Southampton all the votes are counted by box and the numbers declared to the agent and canidates, the votes are then recounted and the figure confirmed, then the ballot papers are split in to the candidates names and then and only then are counted.

    Different to EBC where mistakes take place which seem to favour the ruling partys
    Against labour party candidates suffered detriment even though we did win our seats
    After recounts.

    Regardless of the outcome of the speeding case several newspapers intend to run storys against our MP after the court case, its reported the news black out is to give our MP a fair hearing which we would wish for everyone shame the Electoral Commission dont comply to that standard and maybe they would not be seen as a failing organisation which the journalists and the public can have faith in.

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