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First, Osborne slams the Electoral Reform Society. Now, Warsi complains to its Chief Executive

by Paul Goodman

Sayeeda Warsi has followed up George Osborne's attack on the financing of the Yes Campaign earlier this morning.  Writing to the Electoral Reform Society, one of the Yes Campaign's biggest donors, the Party Co-Chairman has accused it of a "conflict of interest".

She has been "shocked to discover" that Electoral Reform Services Limited (ERSL), a subsidiary company, has been paid at least £12.6 million from local authorities, and that "more shocking still, a significant part of its business comes from the administration of postal votes, including in this referendum".

Her letter continues -

"It is deeply disturbing that the Yes Campaign could be able to know which postal ballot has gone to which voter, and when and whether a given person has voted. Such insider knowledge would allow the Yes campaign to know exactly who has voted days or even weeks before the official count, compromising the secrecy of the ballot. This could also give the Yes campaign an advantage by knowing who has voted at the postal ballot verification stage.

I believe that this is a conflict of interest which undermines both the constitutional firewall designed to protect the secrecy of voters' ballots and restrictions regarding participants in the verification of postal votes. And I think voters will be outraged to hear that taxpayers' money is being channelled straight back into the Yes Campaign.

You have already been called on by the No to AV campaign to distance yourselves from this referendum. However, as a further safeguard, I now call on you to publicly declare that ERSL will not be tendering for contracts to help run future General Elections to ensure that there is no financial benefit resulting from ERSL's backing of this campaign."


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