I posted off a series of questions to the Returning officer at Central Beds Council at the beginning of June. Today I got a response. I find the answer to question 1 particularly worrying.

1.   During the May elections I was informed that some voters were able to go into a polling station, give their name, and get ballot papers, even though they had no polling card on them, and neither were they asked for any other form of identity. What is the correct procedure for the staff at a polling station to follow in the event that a person does not have a polling card?

RESPONSE: The system currently still works on trust with or without the poll card.  The poll clerk should repeat the line entry at it appears in the register and the elector confirms that they are that person.

2. During the count of ballot papers, boxes for Tithe Farm and Parkside were clearly visibly unattended for a long period, and open, at the rear of the tent. Why were they not attended and kept locked at all times?

RESPONSE: I have spoken with the Manager who administered the count within the marquee and he assures me that the ‘open mixing’ boxes were always in view should anybody have attempted to tamper with them.

3. Why were counting staff kept waiting for long periods, apparently waiting to count votes when there were many boxes piled up waiting to be counted?

RESPONSE: Until the supervisor has clearance from the central control that the verification figure or the count figure has been reconciled with the number of ballot papers issued at the polling station then there will always be a small period of time when the counters ‘appear to be doing nothing’.  Quite often the central control requests that a recount takes place and therefore that process would be carried out before the next box is issued.