Tom Scoccer with a guest blog post outlining how the postal voting system works and why you can trust it.
Much has been written around Postal Votes being open to scams and fraudulent behaviour. However, much of this is based on misunderstandings and misinterpretations of certain incidents. With the pandemic uppermost in our minds, this could be the best option for many of us to get our vote out! So, we need to have confidence that Postal Voting is a sound and secure option! First, Apologies for the fairly long read, but we should understand the whole process.
Those who choose to vote by post are sent a postal voting pack. This pack contains:
- A Ballot Paper (the same ones used at the polling station)
- The postal voting statement (This is to verify that the named voter is actually the same person who applied for a postal vote)
- Two envelopes, a smaller one (Envelope A) and a bigger one (Envelope B)
The ballot paper is completed and placed inside “envelope A”. The postal voting statement should be completed giving date of birth along with the voter’s signature in the spaces indicated. The statement is then placed in envelope B along with envelope A.
Post the completed postal voting documents. Please note. Only post this yourself or ask someone who you fully trust to post it. Do not hand to any election candidates or canvassers. No members of a political party should ever ask you to return your completed election papers to them. Postal votes should reach the local electoral office by 10:00 am on the day of the election.
The local office then holds “Postal Vote opening sessions”. The envelopes (B) are counted and verification documents are checked. They also check, while opening envelope B, that the verifying statement number corresponds with that shown on the envelope. The returning officer must sign off on this process confirming that all signatures and dates of birth have been correctly entered and tally with their own records. Any rejected statements will be recorded and the respective envelope A containing the ballot paper will be securely stored.
Staff open envelopes A. They remove the ballot papers and place them Face Down. Again, they check the ballot paper has the same number as shown on the envelope. The total number of ballot papers (not votes) are then counted. Once complete, ALL ballot papers are placed in ballot boxes and kept secure until transported to the counting venue before 10:00 pm when voting closes. These votes are then counted in the same way all other votes are.
Throughout the whole postal voting opening sessions all registered election campaigners are invited to send postal voting agents to observe and ensure everything is above board.
When we look at voting in person, the postal vote seems to be way more secure. I have been to vote in person in the past and have not even needed my polling card in order to vote in my registered polling station!
The only people who would gain by us not using the postal voting facility are our competitors! You can be 100% sure that they will be encouraging their own supporters to make full use of Postal Voting. So please do make use of postal voting, it is in all of our interests to do so! To register for a postal vote please copy and paste this link into your browser: https://www.gov.uk/…/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote
Still not convinced? Then let us know and we can try to answer any concerns you may have, or go to the link below which has a lot more information and debunks many of the myths surround Postal Voting. https://medium.com/@douglasdaniel/debunking-the-myths-around-postal-voting-865f1e4021d8