HOW EASY IS IT to vote twice in elections? Very easy, to judge from an incident in Hackney in the 2018 local elections.
On the morning of last Thursday 3 May, a Dalston businesswoman went to Colvestone Primary School to cast her vote. Rowena Bond showed her polling card, watched as a clerk ticked off her name, then went into the booth, where she pencilled in her verdict on the candidates.
A few hours later, her husband, a media worker with the same surname, went to vote, and gave his name, only to be told he had already voted.
When he produced his polling card he realised that his wife had mistakenly picked up the wrong card from the kitchen table and he had hers.
The clerk had, presumably, failed to notice that his wife, clearly a woman, was voting in the name of a man called David, a common christian name — for a male.
Cue panic and apologies from the presiding officer. After some kerfuffle among the clerks and more apologies, the error was, they said, corrected, although they would not say how. Scribbled comments from the presiding officer; rubbing-out of pencilled entries? One can but guess.
Regardless, if the amendments made were not accepted during the count at Hackney town hall that evening, Greens candidate Alex Armitage the runner-up to sitting member Peter Snell of Labour, might feel miffed, given the closeness of the count: Dr Armitage lost by 21 votes.
The Bonds could have voted twice…. or perhaps more often. Did other registered voters take advantage of monitoring inadequacies by polling-station clerks?
Hamish Scott 080518
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