Author Topic: Vote early, vote often  (Read 811 times)

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Offline dapaterson

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Vote early, vote often
« on: December 31, 2019, 10:45:04 »
Highworth, in Wiltshire, has fewer than 7,000 registered voters but more than 40,000 ballots were counted after the town council election in May.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-49611803
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Online mariomike

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Re: Vote early, vote often
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 11:03:04 »
"It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."  :)

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Vote early, vote often
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 13:35:03 »
Highworth, in Wiltshire, has fewer than 7,000 registered voters but more than 40,000 ballots were counted after the town council election in May.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-49611803

Playing with numbers can provide different impressions (isn't that what they say about statistics).  40,000 - 7000 = 33,000  How could they possibly reach such an outrageous over-count error?  But there were 19 candidates vying for 15 council vacancies, so each elector could cast 15 votes per ballot.  Therefore . . . 7000 x 15= 105,000 . . . so a 60,000 shortfall in possible votes.  Was it an undercount error?  The reality is much different.

https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/highworth-council-election-count-petition-high-court-local-elections-502037
Quote
Keith Smith, an Independent candidate elected and chair of the Highworth Community Partnership Group, told i that he understands an error was made due to the block voting system used.

He explained: "There were 19 candidates standing for 15 seats and the number of ballot papers were 2,477. What happened was they have something called a block vote where, if a ballot paper has only crosses on it for one party so some has voted for all ten Conservative candidates and no one else, they put that [ballot paper] to one side and count them at the end.

'People felt uncomfortable'
"There were 265 of those papers so it was fairly easy, that meant that each candidate of the Conservative party would be given 265 votes each. Instead of that someone multiplied the 265 votes by the ten candidates giving them 2650 votes each from the block voting."

"When the count was announced at 4am people felt uncomfortable but didn't know why," Mr Smith added. "Anyway the returning officer called the vote and after that a group of people crowded around her and said 'this is not right' and she said, 'look we are all tired I will sort it in the morning' which, of course, she couldn't because once she is declares the result it's law. It was all too late."

Mr Smith said that the returning officer, Susie Kemp, later wrote to residents saying that there had been a "transcription error in the terms of block voting" but that she was confident the right candidates had been elected nonetheless.

"We know for definite that the Conservative party candidates were given too many votes each. So this evening we have got our first new council meeting with a town council that, in law, is accurate but in everybody's mind is not," Mr Smith said. "We cannot be sure that the right people are duly sitting on the council.

Still, the count wasn't reconciled.  A total of 41,939 votes were counted, but with 2,477 ballot papers issued there should have only been a max of 37,155 (15 votes per ballot).  An attitude of "aw, screw this, I'm tired" doesn't work well for returning officers.  In the end though, only one of the candidates declared on election night was overturned following the recount.

As an aside, for a market town of a little more than 8000 residents, 15 councillors gives them a representation ratio much greater than, say, Toronto.
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