It happened in the 2015 election when the wrong voting instructions were sent out with postal votes:
and now it’s happening again this year – but worse and affecting many more people.
And in an election where a handful of votes might decide a winner between Swire and Claire Wright.
If Claire Wright is within 9,000 votes of Swire could she demand a rerun?
Our Returning Officer was called to Parliament to explain why he “lost” 6,000 voters too – saying he preferred to telephone them rather than sending canvassers into deepest, darkest East Devon:
In 2015 he blamed his postal vote fiasco on “inexperienced staff”:
What will it be this year?
Is it perhaps time for Mr Williams (EDDC CEO and Election Officer) to consider his position(s)?
THIS YEAR’S FIASCO AFFECTS 9,000 POSTAL VOTES
“A total of 9,000 postal voters in East Devon have been reassured after a mistake meant their slips did not have the correct security mark.
A statement has been issued today by the Acting Returning Officer for the East Devon Constituency (Mark Williams) to reassure postal voters who have not yet returned their postal votes.
He said: “It has come to my attention that the postal vote packs we issued on 25th May contained voting slips that did not have an official security mark visible on the front of the ballot paper. This has affected a total of 9,000 postal voters.
“I want to reassure those postal voters affected that if they have not yet returned their postal votes they should still do so. We have taken all the necessary steps to ensure the postal votes are valid and will be counted. I apologise for the error but want to reassure postal voters that they should still complete their postal voting statements and return their postal voting envelopes back to me for validating as part of the normal postal voting process.
“To be valid, a postal vote has to be accompanied by a valid postal voting statement containing the voters date of birth and signature. After these are checked, the envelope containing the postal voting slip is opened and the slip is put into a sealed ballot box where it is kept safe until the formal count. My postal vote opening teams will ensure that all validly completed postal votes are double checked so that they will go forward to the count along with all the other votes that will be cast on polling day itself.”
There is a second issue of postal votes tomorrow (31st May) and all the postal voting slips will have the appropriate security mark. Similarly all ballot papers issued at the polling stations will have the necessary security mark.
The news comes after it was revealed East Devon was chosen as one of eight UK constituencies to be monitored as part of an international mission to ensure elections are fair.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has announced that the constituency will be one of its target seats for the general election.
An Election Assessment Mission (EAM) will be conducted in the area from June 4 to 9 by Phillip Paulwell, an MP from Jamaica who will lead a team of Observers from the Commonwealth.
The Mission, which is being arranged by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch (CPA UK) as it did in the 2015 and 2010 general elections, will also observe elections in seven other UK constituencies to oversee:
post-election complaints or appeals
The team will compromise of three parliamentarians and one election official from Tonga who will monitor Election Day procedures at polling stations, meet with candidates, returning officers, local officials, community groups and other relevant stakeholders in order to assess the conduct of the election.”