Electoral Commission Report on General Election

Returning Officer for Hounslow didn't meet required standards


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The Electoral Commission has this week published its report on the May 2015 polls and performance standards assessments.

The assessment finds that the Returning Officer for the two parliamentary constituencies in the London Borough of Hounslow, Mary Harpley, didn't meet the required standards during this year’s general election on account of there being printing errors on election materials in the Feltham & Heston constituency.

The Electoral Commission Report reads:

"In Hounslow there was an issue relating to poll cards for electors in the Bedfont area of the Feltham & Heston constituency which were printed with the wrong polling station address for the electors in question.

"We concluded that the RO [Returning Officer] did not meet elements of performance standard 1 and 2 because, whilst the RO put in place immediate actions to minimise the impact of the error on voters, including providing transportation for those affected to their correct polling station, the error may have dissuaded some electors from voting by requiring them to travel to a different polling location. The impact of this error may have also caused significant voter confusion. In addition, the error could have affected the confidence of those standing for election in the management of the process as a whole."

Speaking about the assessment, Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said:

“We accept the assessment findings and welcome the role of the Electoral Commission which works to ensure that elections are held to the highest democratic standards.

“I can assure the electorate that we’ve already investigated the poll card printing error and have put in place new measures which mean the likelihood of the same mistake happening again is minimal.

“I’m confident that elections held in Hounslow are soundly run and fair.”

July 17, 2015

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