Monday, April 25, 2005

Post haste

Some days ago, Talk Politics asked a question of our favourite local Liberal Democrat (not exactly a wide field from which to choose).

Is John Hemming, opponent of the current postal vote system, allowing his supporters at his Coventry Road office to process postal vote applications for onward passage to the Elections Office at the City Council?

Now, there's nothing illegal about this in any way. The other major parties do it centrally, but they still do it. The tThe Electoral Commission opposed this practice, but all three parties disagreed, so the rules are a compromise. So, given John's views on postal voting, are his people complying with the spirit, as well as the letter of the law?

His answer so far is that:
'My agent indicates to me that if anyone suggests that they put any postal ballots in our office he will walk them instead to the post box (a few doors down).In the past we have had one or two ballot envelopes (B - sealed) handed in at the office. We do have council postal vote forms in the office which are available to people on request.'

Which doesn't answer the question. Nobody has suggested that the LDs are collecting actual votes. That's a typical example of answering the question that you wished you had been asked - quite apart from the weasel words of 'my agent indicates to me...'

So, given that John has been good about responding to comments on this site and elsewhere (for which I give him credit - more politicans should make the effort), any chance of a straight answer?

1 comment:

john said...

I am a bit confused by why you do not recognise in my answer that I have answered your question.

People do get the Council Postal Vote Applications from our office and they do hand it in at the office for onwards transmission. The form itself has the Council Elections office address on it.

I have been asked this question by a number of journalists and made my view entirely clear. I see no problem with the political parties handling *applications*. The fact that the Electoral Commission are at all bothered about applications shows a failure to understand the real problems.

I also have no problem with parties generating their own forms, but would ask that people do not put in central addresses, but instead send the vote to the voter.

We have almost hit the deadline for applications anyway.

Oddly enough it is also the Agent who runs the campaign and not me.
That is also normal practise.