Hounslow Council's Election Standards 'Fell Short'

The Bedfont poll card printing error had impact on voters says Election Commission


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Hounslow Council's standards for the May election fell short of requirements, because of a poll card printing error, according to the Electoral Commission.

Returning Officer Mary Harpley, who covered the two parliamentary constituences, was singled out for criticism by the Commission over the matter which happened when poll cards for voters in Bedfont (Feltham & Heston constituency), were printed with the wrong polling station address.

The Commission found that even though Ms Harpley as Returning Officer, put in place immediate actions to minimise the impact of the error on voters, including providing transportation for those affected to their correct polling station, the error "may have dissuaded some electors from voting by requiring them to travel to a different polling location."

"The impact of this error may have also caused significant voter confusion. In addition, the error could have affected the confidence of those standing for election in the management of the process as a whole," said the report.

The Electoral Commission concluded that the RO [Returning Officer] did not meet elements of performance standard 1 and 2 .

Speaking about the assessment, Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said:

“We accept the assessment findings and welcome the role of the Electoral Commission which works to ensure that elections are held to the highest democratic standards.

“I can assure the electorate that we’ve already investigated the poll card printing error and have put in place new measures which mean the likelihood of the same mistake happening again is minimal.

“I’m confident that elections held in Hounslow are soundly run and fair.”

July 17, 2015

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