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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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