Many members denied votes or even entry to Zoom meeting
Members of Streatham constituency Labour party (CLP) have complained that large numbers were denied entry or a vote at their annual general meeting on Thursday night, in a travesty that some have compared to the recent regional-office-driven scandal at Bristol West CLP.
Members attempting to log in to the meeting, which Labour’s London regional office insisted on running directly instead of allowing CLP officers to run themselves as would be usual, found themselves held indefinitely in the Zoom ‘waiting room’. Some were kept waiting for 90 minutes or more – and some were denied entry altogether, in particular many black members.
Members in the waiting room were not able to communicate with the ‘host’ controlling access to the meeting.
Eventually, those waiting were told they would not be allowed into the meeting unless their full names were showing on their Zoom profile – but those who checked their profile found their full names were already showing.
Complaints have already been lodged with the party about the way the meeting was run, with some describing the chaos as incompetence but others alleging worse. Some of those denied entry and a vote included candidates from the left slate standing for elected positions in the CLP – including the BAME candidate for the key position of secretary. Some right-wingers were allowed entry despite their proper names not being shown on their Zoom window.
Those barred numbered at least thirty:
One Streatham member, who had been nominated as a teller/scrutineer for the meeting, told SKWAWKBOX:
Region (London regional office)’s excuse was that they’re all busy with Sadiq Khan’s (London mayoral) campaign. But if they knew they were all going to be busy with that, why on earth did they take over our AGM when we’re perfectly capable of running it ourselves and they didn’t have the resources to run it?
And they’ve sent a note to the Chair and to me as teller that we’re supposed to circulate to all members – but we can’t because one of the first things they did before the meeting was cut off our access to Organiser (the party’s member communication system) without giving a reason!
They have no authority to do that unless we’re in special measures, which we’re not.
They were meant to tell me at the close of play last night how many emails they’d sent out on Anonyvoter (the party’s Zoom balloting system) so I could reconcile the voting tallies, but now they say that won’t happen before Monday.
This means I have no way of knowing whether the number of votes returned has any correlation to the number of people who should have received them.
According to grassroots NEC member Nadia Jama, the party has now buckled and says it will send out ballots to members denied and allow them to vote – but even that was messed up:
Another member told SKWAWKBOX:
People who have been re-issued ballots are missing ballots for some of the roles they’re supposed to vote on. We’re asking members to write to Rheian Davies and Nadia Jama about it. Everyone who hasn’t yet voted is supposed to receive another email on Saturday with a reminder and a link to the ballots but still, if someone thinks they’ve completed it already and just didn’t notice that a few roles were missing then that’s pretty bad form.
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