John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
  Election Petitions 2008
I have obtained a copy of both of the election petitions from 2008. I have not identified any conclusions from the petitions.

Northwood and Birches Head Ward - Stoke
This petition raised by Eve Maley alleges procedural problems at the count. She was an independent against "Potteries Alliance", BNP, Labour and Lib Dems and lost in the end by one vote.

Quoting from the petition:

"The result of the first count was that the Petitioner had won by one vote. A recount was requested on behalf of [the winner] and the result of this recount was that the Petitioner had one more vote than the [the winner]. [the winner] asked for another recount, the result of which was also that the Petitioner had won by one vote.

"The petitioner was advised during the count that the third recount ahd produced the same result as the previous counts, but that on the fourth recount, held again at the request of [the winner] two extra ballot papers had been count, marked in his favour and the reasult, therefore, was that he had one more vote than the Petitioner."

"The petitioner requested a recount but the [returning officer] refused the Petitioner her request and declared [the winner] as duly elected."

"During the count, the Petitioner was not shown any rejected ballot papers and therefore, not given any opportunity to object to any which were rejected."

"The total number of votes which were cast remained the same in all five counts."

The [returning officer] did not conduct the elections properly in that:

a) He failed to properly count and record the number of ballot papers in each ballot box.
b) He failed in the presence of the election agents to verify each ballot paper account.
c) He failed to count such of the postal ballot papers as were duly returned and record the number counted.
d) He failed to allow the Petitioner a re-count when in the circumstances of the case, such a request was reasonable. Further or alternatively the [returning officer] should have allowed the re-count given all the circumstances surrounding the re-count and given that the 1st Respondent would have, any in fact, has now appeared biased particularly in light of the ligitation the parties are involved in.
e) He may have rejected ballot papers which ought not to have been rejected and/or failed to reject ballot papers which ought to have been rejected.
f) He failed to give the Petitioner a proper opportunity to object to any rejection of a ballot paper."

This will be an interesting one to see the outcome which on the allegations has potential to overturn the result and have a re-election. I cannot see the court changing the result, however.

Manningham Ward - Bradford
A petition by Norman Scarth who was a candidate.

"That Norman Scarth was unlawfully arrested and unlawfully imprisoned by West Yorkshire Police to prevent him campaigning for votes. This was on orders from very high up, & it was specifically stated that he was to be detained "until voting had ended". He was then released without charge."

Which seems a curious one, but not one that would be likely to overturn a result unless the result was close.

He has an online commentary here and website here.

The result was
Manningham
Arshad Ali (Res GG) 395
Mohammad Amin (Lab) 2319
Adam Jamal (Con) 246
Mohammed Ishrat Mirza (Lib Dem) 2122
John Edward Robinson (Green) 214
Norman Scarth (Anti-Crime) 66
Maj: 197 LAB GAIN

Much that it may be the case that he shouldn't have been arrested, I would be surprised if the court concluded that it affected whether or not he won or indeed whether Labour beat the Lib Dems - simply because he only got 66 votes.

It looks like Bradford MDC tried to stop the petition. That would also be difficult as he does have an argument even if not a very strong one.

He also stood in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election coming 25th Equal out of 26 candidates with 8 votes.
 
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