Review of Bristol elections calls for widespread changes

Confidence in the administration of elections by Bristol Council was badly shaken this May after a series of problems, including ballot papers found in the wrong place, election results taking 6 hours longer than expected to be declared and numerous phone calls going unanswered. A detailed review of electoral administration was subsequently ordered and it has called for major changes.

The Bristol Evening Post reported,

Apart from more than half of the election phone queries going unanswered, the office for the council’s electoral services department in the Corn Exchange has been described as “woefully inadequate”. One of Ms Dixon’s many recommendations to the council is to find alternative accommodation.

Then we come to the poll cards, a total of 500,000 of which were distributed to households for the general and local elections.

It is not essential to take your polling card with you when you vote although it does help. Nonetheless, Ms Dixon discovered that 1,373 poll cards in the Bristol West constituency were not printed. This was due to human error when a sequence number was incorrectly entered on a print run.

On postal voting, a number of problems occurred. On April 23, 2,381 Bristol East postal ballot papers were sent to voters in Bristol West by mistake. This led to checks which discovered that parliamentary postal ballot papers had also been issued incorrectly in Knowle ward because Bristol East papers had been wrongly packed for Bristol South.

The reason for this glitch was apparently due to a software problem. A constituency boundary change which had been correctly entered into the software did not follow through to the printing of the ballot papers. Another of Ms Dixon’s recommendations is an updating of the software programme…

When the postal votes were opened and checked, the problems really began to take off, thanks to postal votes being put into the wrong ballot boxes. This led to discrepancies in ballot paper totals and votes being “lost” and then “found”.

Among the blunders were:

● 165 Bishopston postal votes placed in a Bishopsworth ballot box.

● 225 Postal votes in Brislington East were mixed up with a ballot box for Brislington West.

● postal votes in Bristol North West were incorrectly put into a ballot box for Henleaze.

● the discovery of 685 ballot papers for Bishopsworth in the Bedminster box.

Ms Dixon said there was “a strong perception of lack of transparency in the process of moving ballot papers through the process”.

“Although verbal briefings took place, it seemed that many candidates and agents had little or no information as to why packets of votes were arriving and being added in at a late stage,” said Ms Dixon.

“This lack of transparency and communication led to descriptions of votes being ‘lost’ and then ‘found’, which although incorrect, gained currency as a description of events.”

During the parliamentary counts, the main bone of contention was the length of time taken before results were declared. People complained as count staff were “sitting doing nothing” leading to the conclusion that management was poor and that resources were not being fully utilised to enable speedy progress.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Election law.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/20689 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRuth Bright 4th Jul - 10:55am
    Also, a quick apology Caron for taking this thread further away from the subject of Catherine. Catherine is a wonderful representative. It is a foolish...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 4th Jul - 10:46am
    John Farrand-Rogers - surely it is about an imbalance of power? Normally men have the power and women do not. When I was in my...
  • User AvatarJennie 4th Jul - 10:05am
    'Norman saying “We should reclaim the cost of our Courts and Tribunals system through user fees wherever we can – but they must be reasonable”...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 4th Jul - 9:38am
    It does happen that a female MP is followed by a female candidate. I met one such queueing for registration at federal conference. Part of...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 4th Jul - 9:30am
    I hope that the Press Officer for the Ribble Valley by-election reads this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribble_Valley_by-election,_1991 The Conservative candidate went into a depression afterwards, but recovered and...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 4th Jul - 9:10am
    Good article by Paul .I think we have a strong argument for PR in local government .every vote should count and it will improve turnout....
Sat 4th Jul 2015
10:00
10:00
Sun 5th Jul 2015
03:00
Mon 6th Jul 2015
Wed 8th Jul 2015
Thu 9th Jul 2015
Fri 10th Jul 2015
Sat 11th Jul 2015
Sun 12th Jul 2015
Thu 16th Jul 2015
Sat 18th Jul 2015
Sun 19th Jul 2015
Mon 20th Jul 2015
Thu 23rd Jul 2015
Sat 25th Jul 2015
Sun 26th Jul 2015
Mon 27th Jul 2015
Thu 30th Jul 2015
Sat 1st Aug 2015