Bordesley Election Petition - today's proceedings
Apart from police evidence as to who did what (and other allegations), there are two key areas of dispute in the Bordesley Election Petition.
These relates to the ballot papers that were counted.
One relates to a particular group of three ballot boxes that contained lots of Envelope "A"s. Each of the Envelope "A"s contained both a ballot paper and a Declaration of Identity.
The Commissioner at the time of writing has picked on the interesting point in law which is that if the electoral procedures are operating correctly then there should be no Envelope "A"s containing both a ballot paper and DoI.
In theory the ballot paper is placed in Envelope A and Envelope A and the DoI are placed in Envelope B.
When EnvB is opened the number on the DoI and EnvA should be checked. At that stage if there is no DoI then EnvA should be opened. Therefore at the count there should be no EnvB's with DoIs and Ballot papers (because if that had been what had happened then they would have been opened when EnvB was opened.
The row at the count was "where have these boxes come from". The row at the count should have been "These are just EnvA with DoI and Ballot and are hence invalidly counted".
The mere fact that 1500+ voters theoretically made the same mistake of filling EnvA with DoI and ballot paper raises substantial questions.
The second area are the different categories of votes argued by the petitioners to be fraudulent based upon aspects of the DoI and application for postal votes.
|Reason||Number of ballots|
|The same witness has used a number of different addresses||289|
|The signature of the witness varies whilst the address is constant||387|
|The voter has also signed as witness||438|
|The signature on 2 or more ballots is the same||23|
|The signature on the declaration of identity is not the same as on the application for a postal vote||1637|
|Votes changed to Labour votes with tippex etc||109|
|There are also some which are know to be forged||????|
|Total (some in more than one category)||more than 2414|
A worrying element of this is that the signatures on 719 of the 994 permanent postal votes differ between application and DoI. Only 109 permanent postal votes existed prior to 2004.
It is wrong to assume that the total number of votes being challenged is 1500+2414 as they will overlap.
The point about these cases, however, is not that the number of votes has to equate to the difference between parties, but that the large number of fraudulent votes demonstrates that there was widespread fraud in the election and hence it is not valid.
The issue that then arises is can it be shown that any of the candidates are personally responsible for this either directly or by allowing it to occur.