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She should have paid more attention at the count to make sure her votes weren't put in the wrong pile. Unless her nominees are now feeling guilty for not going to vote !

I know of a council by-election in Tower Hamlets where the candidate for what was then called Socialist Alliance received 7 votes, with at least 1 of her 10 nominators voting for us - and one of the 7 votes she got was very lucky not to be counted as spoilt, I'm told.

Just because you nominate someone, doesn't mean you have to vote for them.

That candidate in Cardiff in the last general election who was said to have got 0 votes had actually got 200, but the pile had been mislaid. It does happen. However, there's no legal case for challenging the result unless it is contended that the winner is in doubt.

Come on, it's all just Labour Party spin to distract people from their appalling results on the day.

Same as coinciding Tony Blair's resignation with the increase in interest rates tomorow.

When will we ever learn?

Hot on the heels of their antics in Leeds this looks like another Labour vote-rigging exercise

One doesn't want to cast aspersions etc., but, local council's tend to use their employees as tellers and counters. So the opportunity for a bit of sabotage is there.
Whether one vote or 7 was "lost", it is still, potentially a crime, and should be investigated. It's not as if NuLab have no track record with gerrymandering and crooked dealings.

Paul, what happened in Leeds?

why are you whittling about a few votes in sedgefield when a 100,000 votes were sabotaged in Scotland and the extraudinaryly high postal ballot votes in areas against the BNP.

Several people have now come forward claiming to have voted for her - including a Mr. A.C.L. Blair!

The only Tory in the village.

I remember the Socialist Worker Students Society candidate getting only 13 votes in the Students Union President election at Southampton in 1994 - ah the joy of seeing SWSS cowed by realising that they got less votes that year than Dusty the Despatch Box...happy days indeed :)

The spoilt ballot papers in Scotland have now exceeded 140,000 in number. This is Annabel Goldie's reaction:

“It is a simply astonishing figure. Figures suggest that 7% of the vote – enough to elect a regional list member – has been disenfranchised. We warned that a failure to decouple the Holyrood and local government elections would lead to chaos. When he was an MSP, my colleague David Mundell initially introduced a Bill – taken on by David Davidson – that would have achieved this, but it did not get the support of all the other parties. The unacceptable fiasco of last week has compounded what we said, and we will be making representations to reintroduce this Bill as soon as we can. These shenanigans must never happen again.”

Ref: Leeds
Allegedly the labour candidates were caught out giving instructions as to how to treat postal voters and their papers - not according to the rules! As it happens the labour candidates are now councillors having beaten the Liberals. They also beat two Conservative councillors elsewhere in Leeds. Makes you wonder!!

What's worst, putting up a candidate and getting no votes or not daring to put up a candidate at all in 38% of wards, should have been the rebuke.

On the subject of 'null points' - what's the betting that the UK wins the Eurovision this weekend? Somehow it seems artistically necessary for the Blair Reich to be framed by a Eurovision win at both ends, but I can't quite put my finger on why....

I can think of a number of examples of people nominating a candidate but not then voting for them, this is not that unsusual.

The returning officer is correct to remind everyone that since the outcome, in terms of who won, is not in question then there is no requirement to investigate matters without an electoral petition. To lodge one of those at the High Court requires the payment of a £100 000.00 bond to discourage frivolous suits and so it is a pointless and incredibly expensive thing to do unless one believes that the final result can be changed by doing so.

Is it really any surprise to anyone that Labour and their brothers in arms the BBC are playing up this matter rather than the considerable Conservative advance or the Labour collapse and LibDem standstill. When are we going to get real and accept that the BBC is wildly biased beyond redemption and that nothing that we say or do is going to change their institutional anti Toryism. Give up on the BBC, court the Murdoch media instead, and when returned to power finally bite the bullet and break up the BBC and sell it off in a series of trade sales to preserve what is good about it, e.g. the natural history unit.

'what's the betting that the UK wins the Eurovision this weekend?'

55-1 William. Represents our current popularity in Europe! Straying off the subject, Finland at 17-1 on betfair to finish in the top 4 is a value bet.

Thanks for the info John. I'm suprised that more has not been made of this.

Malcolm: perhaps John's use of the word 'allegedly'?

I have not heard the BBC or Jon Snow get as indignant over this Voting Fiasco last week as they did over Florida.....nor is The Guardian as histrionic.

Obviously they have party principles rather than the objective kind

Sounds like it should be reported to the police.
All votes can be traced as the ballot papers have a number (so much for secret balloting). Therefore they can easily track down if the people who came forward did vote (if name marked off) and see if their ballot papers are there. If not there when there is proof they voted, then evidence of some kind of foul play.
No voting irregularity should be un-investigated - democracy has to be protected at all costs.

This has never occurred to me before, but presumably ballot papers are kept a certain minimum amount of time before being destroyed if there is no kind of court order or police investigation relating to them.

If several people have voted then I suppose it depends where they were were and how they voted, all it takes is a problem with the post in a single area and posted ballots could have gone missing with the voters none the wiser, there is the possibility that they might have accidentally voted for someone else and a vote ruled ineligible is also possible.

It would seem improbable that anyone would bother rigging votes in one of the safest Labour ward's in Sedgefield, far more likely in a marginal where a few votes one way or another can tip the balance amd alter who wins.

Answer yes according to the Sedgefield District Council results for Trimdon and Trimdon Grange Ward.

Something has been made of Leeds. The allegations/evidence come from a Sunday Times article which means that the whole sorry affair has been on the national stage from the off. The Liberal are, I predict with some confidence, going to appeal the result in Gipton and Harehills (the ward they lost). Their council leader has almost said as much.

The problem is, in my opinion, that the probable penalty for cheating does not outweigh the benefit. If Keith Wakefield, the leader of Labour's council group in Leeds, were looking at a jail term then the issue would be much more exciting. In practice, what will happen to him if he gets found guilty? Seriously, I'd like to know!

Sadly, for us at any rate, in the wards where we lost councillors there seems not to be any (enough?) evidence of foul play.

Ask for a deposit for local elections and some of these problems might not arise.

Until I saw the picture I thought the headline referred to Blair

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