Including Spoilt Papers in Election Results

Richard Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridgeshire County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

FAO: Mark Baker, Returning Officer

Mr Baker,

I would like to know if, how and when you are planning to publish the number of spoilt (rejected) ballot papers in each of the upcoming June 2009 elections.

Will the number of spoilt papers be published on a per-seat basis along with the number of votes for each candidate? If not, can you let me know why not?

--

Richard Taylor

Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Jenner Clare, Cambridgeshire County Council

Dear Mr Taylor,

Thank you for your request which has been dealt with in line with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Q: I would like to know if, how and when you are planning to publish the
number of spoilt (rejected) ballot papers in each of the upcoming June
2009 elections.
Will the number of spoilt papers be published on a per-seat basis along
with the number of votes for each candidate? If not, can you let me know
why not?

Answer: The number of spoilt ballots will be published on our website
alongside the number of votes for each candidate for each seat. The
information will be published throughout Friday 5 June, as and when
results are received from the City and District Councils.

I hope this answers your enquiry. If you have any further questions,
please do not hesitate to contact me. As this request for information was
made under the Freedom of Information Act, if you are not satisfied with
the outcome please let me know.

If you wish to use our complaints procedure, please contact Helen Maneuf,
Head of Audit, Scrutiny and Information Governance, Box RES1405, Shire
Hall, Cambridge, CB3 0AP, within 40 days of the date of this reply. If you
are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may then apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by Cambridgeshire County Council. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Regards,
Clare Jenner
Cambridgeshire County Council
01223-699241

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

This is excellent news.

The number or spolit papers, per ward, have not previously always been explicitly published alongside the results.
eg.

http://www2.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/db/cou...

or
http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/ccm/content/...

I think it is important the number is published as high numbers of spolit papers might indicate problems with the voting process. The numbers might also indicate how many people didn't vote for reasons other than apathy.

Richard Taylor

Dear Cambridgeshire County Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Cambridgeshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Including Spoilt Papers in Election Results'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/in...

I would like the review to consider the accuracy of the response.

I note while my response stated: "The number of spoilt ballots will be published on our website alongside the number of votes for each candidate for each seat. The information will be published throughout Friday 5 June, as and when results are received from the City and District Councils". This did not in-fact occur for the Cambridgeshire County Council elections in June 2009.

I note I have not been able to calculate even an approximation of the number of spoilt papers from the information as in many cases the published figures indicate an excess of votes over turnout.

Many thanks

--

Richard Taylor

Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

I have written two articles related to this request:

More Votes Counted Than People Who Turned Out in Cambridge:
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/more-votes-coun...

Publishing How Many People Spoilt Their Ballot Papers:
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/publishing-how-...

Baker Mark, Cambridgeshire County Council

Dear Mr Taylor

I understand that you have sought clarification on some points concerning the election results information provided by the County Council. I hope the following information will be of assistance:

- the numbers of spoilt ballots were added to the Council's website on Monday. We had hoped to be able to post the information on the Friday but delays resulting from the verification of the European votes prevented this. We had the Induction Open Day for Councillors on the Saturday and had to switch our efforts to this first.

- the original figures we were provided with by Cambridge City Council for the Turnout were inaccurate and we have now entered corrected figures onto the website. I have asked the City Council to investigate what happened and I am awaiting a response. I suspect that in calculating the earlier turnout figures some Postal Votes that had been received but not entered may have been omitted. I am assured that the figures provided for each candidate are accurate.

I am sorry that these difficulties have prevented us from providing the information as quickly and as accurately as we would have wished.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Mark Baker
Returning Officer
Cambridgeshire County Council
Tel 01223 699233

The information in this email is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. If you receive this email by mistake please notify the sender and delete it immediately. Opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Cambridgeshire County Council. All sent and received email from Cambridgeshire County Council is automatically scanned for the presence of computer viruses and security issues.

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