Denial of Democracy
…problems with the technology could have resulted in as many as 41,000 ballots going unaccounted for in the May elections…
…among the deficiencies highlighted in the report are the counting of blank ballots as valid votes, frequent jams in the scanning machines and a series of bugs and system freezes…
In at least two cases, the margin of error was greater than the winning candidate’s margin of victory, leading the group to conclude that there was “insufficient evidence” for it to say that the results were accurate.
Andrew raised the spectre of the Florida Gore/Bush 2000 election debacle in his post’s title. As we now know (courtesy of the NORC Florida Ballots Project), the results of the election in Florida – and therefore the Presidency – could have been very different had cooler heads prevailed, political pressure not been leveraged, and more reliable counting processes used.
Back in London very few people claim that the election was stolen, though the issues raised by ORG are extremely worrying. If the results had been a few percentage points closer then London could have been facing Florida-style recounts, counter-counts and court rulings. That’s not a good sight for democracy, nor for the necessary and traditional healing process which follows a close election. LondonElects needs to look closely at these problems and issue recommendations of their own.
The list of consultees is impressive:
The Electoral Commission, The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA), Electoral Registration Officers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Local authorities in England,Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, National Association of Local Councils, The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), Society of Local Council Clerks, The Local Government Association, Political parties, Members of Parliament, Members of the Scottish Parliament, Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Members of the National Assembly for Wales, Devolved administrations (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales), Faith groups, Operation Black Vote, Voluntary sector organisations working with those with disabilities, Help the Aged, Royal Mail, The Hansard Society, The Electoral Reform Society,The HS Chapman Society.
Extensive though the list may be, it still manages to miss off the GLA, Assembly Members, and the Mayor. The Conservatives on the Assembly have cried foul:
The Ministry of Justice has forgotten about London – again. London needs to be included in this consultation.
I don’t see it myself – the document does speak of “interested parties” – though it is difficult to see the exclusion of all London institutions in the consultation list as anything other than a snub.
Perhaps “interested parties” in Whitehall considered the turnout in London to be high enough?