Electoral Commission finds mistakes made in running Tower Hamlets elections

The key conclusion from the Electoral Commission’s investigation into why the last Tower Hamlets election count took so long to finish is:

Underlying both of these main factors were plans for the management of the verification and count on Friday 23 May which proved inadequate for the number of ballot papers to be counted and the intense focus of candidates and agents on the count process. Given the context for the elections, summarised in this report, the Returning Officer should have anticipated many of the factors which appeared to have contributed to the length of the count.

Note also the widespread criticisms implied by the fact the Electoral Commission has had to specially recommend that the following is done for this week’s council by-election in the borough:

  • The Returning Officer ensures all attendees at the count fully understand the process for conducting the count and the standards of behaviour which are expected of them at all times.
  • The Police ensure that their plans for managing the public space outside the count venue enable people entitled to attend the count to enter and leave the venue freely and without obstruction.
  • The Returning Officer ensures that all verification and count processes are transparent and provide appropriate opportunities for those who are entitled to observe to object to doubtful ballot paper adjudication decisions.

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