Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Daventry Years (3)

While I was working in Daventry I had some minor involvement in what, even with hindsight, was quite possibly electoral fraud. There were a total of three vacancies for elected Branch Officers and although I was elected unopposed there were two candidates for each of the other two roles.

A number of features before, during and after the election process combined to make me feel suspicious. There was no evidence that either of the two, ultimately successful, candidates had been correctly nominated. They were both expecting to be returned unopposed and were very much caught by surprise when other nomination papers were handed in five minutes before the deadline. I think it is more than likely that they then generated their own papers retrospectively.

There also seemed to be a serious mismatch between the number of ballot papers found in the ballot box and the number of people who complained that they either never received their ballot paper or who claimed that they didn’t even know that an election was taking place. It seemed curious to everybody - except the successful candidates - that such a high turnout was being claimed for an election where so many people were complaining about not having voted! It was also impossible to reconcile the votes for the different candidates with the way people claimed to have voted. There was certainly widespread incredulity at the low number of votes the unsuccessful candidates appeared to have received.

Subsequently it was discovered that the ballot papers had been counted without the unsuccessful candidates being present and without any public scrutiny. This was after the published time for the count was unilaterally changed by the Returning Officer. Curiously the two successful candidates had managed to be present at the count!

So no hard proof but a large number of unanswered questions shall we say!   

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