The police and the Electoral Commission have been contacted by numerous people following last Thursday’s local election count. Many members of different local parties have contacted both groups of people following the way the count was run by Havering Council last week.
It is believed an investigation will now be under way to look at how poorly the count was run and just what went wrong.
The Electoral Commission told the Havering Daily:
“We are aware of the allegations relating to the count at Havering elections and we are in contact with the Council.
Returning Officers are responsible for the running of the election and of the count. We provide guidance to Returning Officers to help them understand and comply with the law. Candidates and counting agents can attend the count, and it isn’t an offence for anyone to be in the Returning Officer’s central area of a count. However, Returning Officers should take all necessary steps to ensure that anyone attending the count does not interfere with or compromise the secrecy of the vote.
“We do not have a direct role in investigating allegations of electoral fraud; this is carried out by the police. We are aware that there have been complaints made to the police on this matter, so it would be for them to take any further action, if one is necessary.
“We have now started a process to gather evidence so that we can formally report on how the polls were run in the autumn. We will be looking at this situation as part of that report, and through the lens of our performance standards for Returning Officers.”
The Havering Daily was present at the count that took place last Thursday May 5 and a recount at the Town Hall on Monday May 9. Both days saw a lot of angry councillors complain at the way things were run by the council.
On Monday May 9, Councillor Jeff Tucker complained to police and Havering Council Officers about the way the count had been under taken and that he believed there had been a lot of wrong doings.
Rosina Purnell, the Labour Agent who was also present at both counts told the Havering Daily:
“We would support any investigation responding to allegations made. We are also not happy with the allegations that Damian White went behind the table.”
A spokesperson for the Met police told the Havering Daily:
“In the run up to any election it is not unusual for allegations to be made to police. The Met are currently assessing 32 allegations in relation to the London Local Government Elections, before any decision is made whether or not to investigate.
“The Met will not be providing a breakdown of the individual allegations.”
Three recounts were held on election night and one took place the Monday after.
A Havering Council spokesperson told the Havering Daily:
“We cannot comment while an investigation is ongoing.”