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Re: [council] Election No. 3 - Explanation and Proposed Action.

> > I object, unless someone explains in more detail what it means that "the
> > voter's intent was clear, that the voter's intended vote was miscounted
> > (due to a subsequent vote, made in error), and that the miscount was not
> > entirely the fault of the voter". I don't understand the concept of a
> > "shared fault" and that is what the words "not entirely" suggest.
> >
> > M.S.

Some background on the conduct of public elections which may help
focus the discussion we will have to have.
[I will make my personal statement later.]

Where it appears that there are two votes cast by one elector for more than
one candidate in a public election (such as in a by-election or in a General
Election for the House of Commons in the UK), it is regarded as a 'spoiled ballot'
and has no effect for /either/ of the two candidates

[Where a voter makes a mistake during completion of his or her ballot paper, they
are entitled to ask for a replacement ballot paper /before/ it is deposited in the
ballot box.]

I believe the practice in other countries to be similar.

When this happens, counting staff refer all such spoiled ballots to the candidates'
scrutineers  (i.e. those people appointed by each candidate to oversee the count)
and where the scrutineers cannot agree informally /before the completion of the
count/, a decision is made by the independent Returning Officer /at the time of the
count/ for that count.

Furthermore, in a public election, on completion of the count, the Agents for the
candidates are subsequently invited to view the announcement which the Returning
Officer is about to make showing the numbers of votes for each candidate, and to
make any final objections at that time.

Once the result has been publicly declared - /even/ if mistakes are discovered
afterwards - the result stands. This is a fundamental principle.

The final option /after/ this has taken place is if that irregularities are
subsequently discovered in the conduct of the count --- such as happened
dramatically in the Winchester (UK) parliamentary constituency -- is for an
aggrieved person to apply for an Election Court to be held who may order the
/entire/ election from the beginning including the campaigning period.

The real problem this has highlighted -- and this applies to the whole election --
is the lack of the normal safeguards which would have prevented this from occurring.

Nigel Roberts (trained Parliamentary election agent)