Checking those postal votes

An interesting proposal from a reader:

but has anyone run the stats on Postal votes? Particularly where, say, the split of postal votes is wildly different to the overall constituency. For example, it would be interesting to find out how many key marginals had a) a sudden increase in the postal vote and b)  where the postal vote was disproportionately labour.

Ed Balls would be a good place to start….

Anyone know if there\’s a way to do this? That is, look at the timing of postal votes?

If not, any wide disparity between postal votes and votes on the day would still be interesting, don\’t you think?

I\’m not going to do it but anyone want a stab at it?

9 thoughts on “Checking those postal votes”

  1. I wanted to see these stats from the moment Ed Balls was re-elected.

    With the number of interesting results that occurred, there has to be at least one seat where postal vote fraud played a part.

    Everyone is talking about electoral reform, but closing this Pandora’s box is sure 100 times more important.

  2. Can’t really be done. IIRC, the postal votes are mixed in with the normal ones before they are formally counted. Aberrations like McCarthy and SNPTacticalVoting are based on unofficial counts where the ballots are removed from the inner envelope.

    Timing analysis would also be hard – you probably only have a few vote opening sessions.

    I have to admit – having voted postally, it would be trivial for a large number of people to have ensured my vote was cast fraudulently.

  3. I too would like to know what happened in the postal votes. The figures let slip by Kerry McCarthy were very revealing. I cannot believe that it is reasonable to think that the split of postal votes in her constituency was 24 Lb Dem, 34 Tory, 226 Labour. It screams jiggery pokery.

  4. However much I’d wish for there to be something dodgy, the best explanation is that the Conservatives were lame.

    According to Wikipedia’s swing (which is only based on projections from previous seats), 2/3rds of the lost votes of Balls went to the Conservatives, 1/3rd to Labour.

    This is reflected all over, whether you’re talking about LD, UKIP, BNP or English Democrats. In a lot of seats, the Conservatives got around half of the votes that Labour gave up.

  5. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    All votes can be traced to the person who cast them as the secret ballot is not, in fact, secret.

    Our safeguard is apparently the need to obtain a court order to do this, something one could quite likely manage given the shambles of an election in some places. It needs someone with a few bob in the bank and who isn’t fleeing the country.

  6. “All votes can be traced to the person who cast them as the secret ballot is not, in fact, secret.”

    All votes can be traced to the voters who were supposed to have cast them. There’s a very big difference, and a very big hole in our ridiculously insecure ballots.

  7. The swing from Lab to Con in Ed Balls’ constituency was 9.3%. The swing from Lab to Con nationally was 5.0%. There doesn’t appear to be anything dodgy going on in that constituency, unless you think the Tories were up to no good…

  8. If we could split out postal votes…which it sadly sounds like we can’t, we might find a swing of +9% to Labour…..

  9. From what I recall:
    On arrival, postal votes are placed into a single ballot box at the Town Hall or wherever. They are mixed together before opening (spread out over a couple of tables). There is a single opening of the box, which gives the candidates and their observers the chance to conduct a straw poll of all postal voters.

    At the final count, papers are opened one box at a time to verify that the number within corresponds with the number of papers allocated to voters. Papers are placed in bundles of 100 or so. Observers get a chance to conduct further straw polls on a polling district basis during this process.

    In the next stage, papers from different polling stations (ie ballot boxes) are brought together and sorted by candidate. Anything that does not comprise a single cross on the right hand side of the paper is temporarily rejected and the whole lot are reviewed in front of the candidates and their observers in one sitting. This takes about one second per paper and disputes are rare.

    Then the real count happens.

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