More irregularities in the #Copeland vote count

The SKWAWKBOX has received some interesting information from a reader with experience of attending counting at elections, who wanted to contrast normal procedures for handling postal votes with what took place at the Copeland by-election count last week.


The SKWAWKBOX has already published details of what the BBC reporter on the spot described as ‘unusual’ procedures, along with footage of that reporter describing the departure from normal process and of BBC Question Time host David Dimbleby announcing a Labour win and then quickly backtracking and concerns have been growing over the validity and legality of the result as further information and eyewitness testimony has come to light, especially around the postal votes, which were present in large numbers.

Now ‘John’, as he has asked to be called, has provided details of what would normally take place and the marked differences observed at the count in Whitehaven:

My experience is that envelopes containing postal ballots are opened and verified before polling day. The total numbers of postal votes are recorded, though not the voting intentions shown on the ballot papers. These would be counted and included in the final counts on the night of the election.

I have never seen large envelopes filled with postal ballot papers left lying around at the count in the way shown in the Express image in your article and would not expect to – they could easily be counted while waiting for ballot boxes to come in from some of the more remote polling stations.


There really are a number of very odd aspects to the way in which this count was organised.

Ordinarily, there are very few postal votes cast on polling day. [SKWAWKBOX note: in the 2015 General Election, with a higher turnout, there were just 157 such votes] You certainly would not expect the arrival of a significant number of boxes of postal votes in the early hours of the morning, as is reported to have happened in Copeland.
If there were a large number of postal votes cast at polling stations on polling day, this would indicate a brand new phenomenon, which ought to raise suspicions.

The SKWAWKBOX has contacted Copeland Borough Council’s elections office with an urgent request for exact details of the total number of postal ballots received and the number that were handed in on the day.

If you are experienced as a teller at election counts, or as a clerk at a polling station, please contact the SKWAWKBOX via skwawkbox@outlook.com to share your experiences so we can build the fullest possible picture of normal process and identify all anomalies in Copeland.

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  1. Anyone who witnesses actions suggestive of electoral fraud has a legal duty to report the matter to police and the electoral commission.

      1. That sounds as if all these “anomalies” including David Dimbleby’s eye twitch aren’t actually suggestive of electoral fraud, or, as gfranklinpercival notes they should be reported to the police as they emerge.

      2. Individually, you might pass over them. Cumulatively, they set you wondering. Approaching critical mass but more info is en route.

  2. It’s strange how disgruntled [apparent] Tory / UKIP voters, rather than cast a doubtful eye on their own elected officials’ or wannabe candidates’ behaviour, flock to this blog to pour scorn.

    Anyone would think their priorities had gotten very strangely out of kilter. Or perhaps I’m very old fashioned. Perhaps I’m very old fashioned expecting rabid, diehard Tories n’ kipperss who struggle to see past the end of their deep blue / purple noses to get their house in order?

    Especially when the easier option for them is to hit out in all directions but the ones that have been engendering the most heat / suspicion of late e.g.

    a. #ToryExpensesFraud involving 30 police forces


    b. EU OLAF investigation into UKIP and its alleged fraudulent behaviour and production of child pornography


    c. Copeland

    Yes, perhaps I’m very old fashioned expecting normal, decent, mature, intelligent human beings to be focussing their attention on a. b. and c. above rather than picking holes and splitting hairs on those members of the public who are doing their best to expose this alleged, official crookedness that appears to be getting rapidly out of hand.

    1. There should be at least two more, but the police point blank refused to investigate……….

  3. Indeed. Anyone who has evidence of wrongdoing should be reporting it to the police. The key word being, of course, evidence.

      1. That’s interesting. What specific offence is being alleged, and what evidence registered? (What’s been posted on this blog so far has been more tittle tattle than evidence)

  4. It’s worth noting that with respect to the original claim that “..Applied IF insists that it can already conclude that the election was not conducted lawfully…” there has been absolutely no reponse to the repeated question – exactly which piece of legislation has been breached? That would seem to be the starting point for an allegation of wrongdoing – or am I missing something?

    1. All on the http://www.sleazeexpo.wordpress.com blog if you look; all in plain English and therefore not exactly Applied IF’s problem if you can’t get to grips with it. Also, the following issues are completely out of their hands:

      1. People not inclined to read it.
      2. People not inclined to believe it.
      3. People like yourself, who’ve made it very clear they’d sooner attack unpaid, public-spirited citizens with no party affiliations than face up to crooked party politicians on large public money salaries, carving out their careers and possibly bending the rules to suit themselves in one way or another.


      1. One point made by Applied IF is that there is no electorate figure.

        This is my constituency result showing the electorate


        That’s why I find it difficult – it doesn’t seem to make sense.

        I’m only attacking arguments – not people; there’s a big difference.

        Which still begs the question of what specific clause of which specific legislation was breached in Copeland to make the conduct of the election unlawful as Applied IF have concluded? (and with which conclusion you appear to agree)

  5. What about the tens of thousands of leaflets the Tories sent out in Copeland? They were made to look like Labour Party leaflets and quoted from an anti-nuclear speech which Jeremy Corbyn made in 2011, after the Fukushima disaster. People would have thought it was a recent speech so they gave the impression that Labour would close down the nuclear plants there, which is NOT the case! Don’t these break the rules?

    The nuclear industry accounts for 25% of the area’s income and many thousands of jobs. People put this before the closure of their hospital, which could cost lives as the 2nd nearest is a long way off, along difficult roads. Not good in an emergency or for women about to give birth.

    Although Corbyn is anti-nuclear, he now has more responsibilities as Party Leader than as a relatively obscure backbencher, which he was at the time. He acknowledges that nuclear power is necessary for us to keep the lights on (especially as, due to Tory policies, sufficient renewables won’t come on line for many years to come). Also, he likes that they help keep our CO2 emissions down, which helps towards complying with the Paris Agreement.

  6. Just a thought on this new stuff from John.
    Of course the postal votes should be opened & tallied the day they arrive. Otherwise, how can the polling office clerks have a correct copy of the electoral register in front of them on polling day, which surely shows who has used their postal vote, and who therefore can’t come to the polling station & vote twice?
    Because the polling cards come out first & as far as I know, you don’t need to surrender that to get a postal vote.

  7. I appreciate building as solid case as possible to hand over to the Police, but must also bare in mind time limits given the time extensions the police already have on #toryelectionfraud and that time running out to bring a case.

    Good Work 🙂

  8. Just found this on the Copeland Council Facebook page:

    “Sean Duffy What is the CBC response to online claims that the by-election ballot was illegal? Thanks.

    Copeland Borough Council Hi Sean. It’s this, from Managing Director and Acting Returning Officer Pat Graham. “In this age of ‘fake news’ it is tempting to suggest this claim makes use of alternative facts.
    To be clear, there is no investigation regarding last week’s election. The election not only went smoothly, but prompted feedback that it was exceptionally well-administered. People may be unaware that a member of the Electoral Commission was in attendance and observed the whole verification and count. In addition almost the entire proceedings were filmed by several broadcasters (some streamed the whole event live.) The conspiracy theories are nonsense and detract from the spectacularly efficient job our staff and volunteers did in delivering this election in a short timescale.
    The Electoral Commission have confirmed the information published following the election was as required. Anyone can visit http://www.copeland.gov.uk to see the detail of the results.

    The Electoral Commission has also issued the following statement:

    “An (Acting) Returning Officer is required to provide public notice of the name of the candidate(s) elected, the total number of votes given to each candidate and the number of rejected ballot papers under each heading. The declaration of results was made by the RO from the stage on Friday night and the results were published by Copeland Borough Council on their website. Paper copies of the full declaration have been displayed on council notice boards, fulfilling the requirement to provide public notice.”

    I think that sums up the fake news instigated by SKWAWKBOX and Applied IF Limited very nicely.


    1. Yawn. That’s what you’d expect them to say – and the broadcasters that were covering the proceedings commented on the non-standard procedures being used, so their presence is no defence of the result.

      1. It appears that the following parties have no issues with the count:

        The returning officer
        The EC representative
        The candidates
        Their agents

        Other than passing mention of trays, envelopes and boxes (and of course Mr Dimbleby’s eye movements) none of the broadcasters present have made any claims of misconduct.

        Bearing in mind the number of people who would have had to be involved in postal (or any other sort ) of rigging at the count how deep do you think the corruption goes?

        Do you at least accept that the information posted on the day in respect of votes cast met the statutory requirements?

        Do you also accept that Applied IF’s credibility must be damaged, by the unearthing of publicly available data (on the EC website) for GE 2015 that they say doesn’t exist?

      2. It appears that the GE2015 data was uploaded after the date Applied claims to have raised its incompleteness – and some data items are still absent.

  9. Interesting.

    This report from Plymouth University


    using the collated data is dated August 2015.

    This snapshot of the EC website dated October 2015 shows that the detailed data was available then


    This document telling us essentially that the data doesn’t exist


    is dated February 2017 or 14 months later.

    There is the odd blank for the odd constituency, but the model itself is certainly not “fraudulent”

    I note that you do not address the issue of statutory reporting in Copeland, nor how far you think the corruption must have gone there.

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