Last week, Douglas Council held an election for Derby Ward to elect two new councillors. The counting of the votes was held at Douglas Town Hall, which obviously required the transport of the ballot boxes (and votes) from the polling stations at the Manx Concert Brass Bandroom and the Scout Hall in Demesne Road.
In a secure election, ballot boxes need to be sealed during transport: A simple sticker placed over the slit where votes are inserted into ballot boxes. The ballot box from the Manx Concert Brass Bandroom was correctly sealed, but the ballot box from the Scout Hall was not. In fact, the Scout Hall ballot box had not even been closed on its arrival to the counting, let alone properly sealed.
This security oversight creates opportunity for potential fraudsters to insert extra votes into the ballot box – because during this time, the ballot box is not on full public display, subject to scrutiny from the various campaigns or the public. As I said during my interview with Manx Radio (below) there is no suggestion that there was any malicious activities here, and this appears to be just an oversight.
Manx Radio reports:
Local authority investigating alleged unsealed ballot box
The chairman of Lib Van has reiterated the importance of election security following what he’s called an ‘oversight’ at a recent by-election.Issue of election security raised following by-election complaint]