Police investigate Labour in Leeds over fake poll card allegations

The Leeds Labour Party is being investigated by the police for over claims it has broken the law against issuing imitation poll cards. Parties and candidates are not allowed to issue leaflets which look like official poll cards, but this is what Labour has been distributing in the Otley and Yeadon ward:

After the legality of the leaflets was raised with them, the Labour Party has said they stopped delivering the leaflets.

The relevant part of the law is:

No person shall for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of any candidate at a parliamentary election or a local government election to which this section applies issue any poll card or document so closely resembling an official poll card as to be calculated to deceive (1983 Representation of the People Act)

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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13 Comments

  • I don’t see the issue – they don’t look like our poll cards (Liverpool), but without seeing the official ones I don’t see how they compare.

  • James: Quick off the mark! I copied over the right bit of the law but missing the wording for local government elections; now corrected.

    PT: “Polling Guide Card” is hardly the headline you would use if you want to be sure not to confuse people between your publication and a “Polling Card”, nor indeed would you leave off things such as an indication that that phone number is one for the Labour Party…

  • I don’t see why this sort of thing should be banned. Isn’t it helpful to turnout to tell people where to vote, when, etc?

  • Tim: The problem is when people are presented with information that they think is independent and impartial but which isn’t. Take the phone number in this case – it looks like it would be a council number, which you could ring to get an independent person to help you. In fact, it’s a Labour phone number, and I bet if you called it you’d get a Labour Party person turn up, who just might try to influence you how you vote…

  • Putting aside the legality, as it may be hard to show this promotes any individual candidate, one response would be to get all supporters in the area to call the number and get a lift to the polling station.

    My Nan lived until she was 95 and for the last 30 years of her life was taken to vote by the Conservative Party and never once voted for them.

  • Oliver Campion 3rd May '12 - 12:14am

    I did get one of these through the door of my home in Brixton last week. It had the words “polling card” on it but also a massive Labour party logo. Interesting to know whether that variation is allowed under the rules or not.

  • Labour are engaging in really dirty tricks all over Leeds, especially as the candidate for Headingley is known to students as the “councillor who took on Virgin Media”. Apparently an outgoing officer in the SU put his name towards an attack leaflet that was printed near to the university, but far away enough so as not be illegal.

  • Yes the cards Labour are doing in Lambeth are something I wouldn’t be happy with if I was the Agent promoting them.

    When I have produced final week/or knockup leaflets with polling station and voter details merged on them on occasions I have always put ‘this in not a poll card’.

    I think the information Labour are giving to voters is perfectly legitimate if we are charitable they should have been a lot more careful in presenting it.

  • where on that image does it say which party published it

    parties have been offering people with help i.e lifts to polling stations for years, that was happening at least as far back as the 70s when my dad was a candidate, they dont care who the person votes fro just making sure everyone entitled get stheir vote

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