Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Barnet Council Election Fiasco : Hendon Constituency Latest

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm not a fan of either the Tory or the Labour candidate from the  2010 general election for Hendon. Outgoing MP Andrew Dismore is on record as saying that he felt that problems with voting arrangements had resulted in voters who wished to vote for him and who turned up at polling stations being unable to do so. The margin of Matthew Offords victory was 105 votes. This means that if a net difference of 106 Andrew Dismore voters were unable to vote, due to bad organisation, he has a very good point.

I spoke to Mr Dismore on the phone this morning to try and ascertain whether he honestly felt that the problems stopped a net total of 106 more of his voters from casting their vote. Mr Dismore gave me an example of voters at one polling station being told at approx 9.30am that the polling forms hadn't arrived and they should go home. Now I voted at Hartley Hall polling station in Mill Hill. This was at 8am. I sat and chatted to our teller for approx 1/2 an hour, leaving at approx 8.30. All forms had arrived on time and we had counted 120 voters by the time I left. I took the telling slips to our HQ on departure. This station wasn't particularly busy at this time (compared to queues I saw later at other stations). By my estimates, we were getting 80 voters an hour. If the station Mr Dismore mentions had a similar level of voters, that means 200 would have passed through by 9.30. The council election results would indicate a 3:1 split of voters.That is a net total of 133. Enough to swing the vote? Now clearly some may have come back later, however we don't know how many. We also don't know what time the ballot papers arrived.

Now quite clearly all of this is purely anecdotal from an interested party. I have no interest in which of the two guys win, but I have a massive interest in making sure any vote in the London Borough of Barnet is fair. I am extremely disturbed by what I've been told happened. I wish to verify this for myself as I intend to produce a full and detailed report. I am asking a massive favour from all Barnet Eye readers. I can only get to the bottom of this if you help me. Please could any Barnet Eye reader who had any problem voting email me. Please detail what time (approx) you voted and where the polling station was. I don't need to know who you voted for (but if you feel it is relevant please tell me). I will merely collate the statistical evidence. I may reproduce the outline details here on this blog (without mentioning your name) of any reported incidents.  I will under no circumstances divulge your name elsewhere. If you specifically ask for it, I will pass your details on to Andrew Dismore, if you feel your experience could help his case.

This is not a political crusade and I'm not taking sides. I just want to make sure that we fix the problems for future.


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