Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Case of missing votes in court...

Local election results have been called into question after an 'irregularity' has been discovered in a local ward where one candidate won by just one vote.

I understand South Holland District Council applied to a Court yesterday for the ballot boxes to be unlocked and the votes recounted after the error was discovered. It is believed that an entire box of votes - likely to be well over 100 votes - was missed in the count for the three district seats for Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas.

The Lincolnshire Free Press reports that candidates will have to pay for High Court costs themselves if they want the result overturned and the extra votes added in.

That doesn't seem right to me: A box of papers missed from the count would be a clear error by the Returning Officer's staff - and I would have thought South Holland council taxpayers will end up paying the legal costs.

It could have been avoided if they had followed procedures I've seen in Labour Party selections - where every ballot paper has to be verified and accounted for, and checked again.

In local council elections, once the Returning Officer declares the result, it stands, even if later proved to be wrong. The result can only be overturned after a lengthy and expensive legal process.

I'm not surprised that mistakes may have been made.

I wasn't at South Holland's count. Over at Grantham, I was not the only candidate to feel that the South Kesteven counts were, well, rather rushed.

I understand one candidate who lost by just ten votes was refused a recount by Chief Executive Duncan Kerr, which seemed a bit harsh, given the rather complicated nature of the count.

Other candidates agreed with me that they were not even given the opportunity to ask for for a re-count or even a quick check that the numbers of votes added up, before the Returning Officer rushed to the stage to make the announcement.

What's that saying my dear old Mum used to say:

A stitch in time, saves nine!

4 comments:

Snedds said...

My vote for the local elections in SHDC never turned up, or rather it disappeared somewhere between being redirected from my Lincs address to my Sheffield one.

Sadly neither royal mail nor SHDC seemed that bothered.

fairdealphil said...

snedds

sounds about par for the course.

you need to apply for a permanent postal vote from your sheffield address.

Michael Oakeshott said...

Sure you filled in the form right Snedds? Did you get confused?

I wouldn't worry. Judging by your blog, your vote won't be missed.

Better luck next time. Or not as the case may be.

fairdealphil said...

keep on blogging snedds.

you're obviously getting up someone's nose.