September 13, 2007

BNP candidate wins High Court recount ruling

The British National Party's hopes of belatedly winning a seat on Burnley Borough Council have risen after the High Court ordered a ballot recount.

BNP candidate Peter John Rowe won the court order for a recount for the Rosegrove and Lowerhouse ward after doubts were raised over the validity of a single vote which decided the election in Labour's favour.

The May 3 council election ended in a tied result between Mr Rowe and the Labour candidate Paul Reynolds. The returning officer then cast lots and declared Mr Reynolds the winner. Mr Rowe went to the High Court in London and asked Mr Justice Irwin for a recount. He said he was acting on behalf of voters who had expressed disquiet about the outcome.

Jason Copple, the returning officer's barrister, denied any mistakes had been made in scrutinising the votes, but suggested there should be a search for one particular ballot paper which had been allowed in Mr Reynolds' favour. The judge was told the vote in question had a diagonal mark in the left hand column against the number of the Labour candidate, rather than a cross in the right-hand column.

Mr Justice Irwin ordered a "thorough recount" instead of just "fishing" for the one suspect ballot paper. The recount will be on an unspecified date and supervised by a senior court official.

Mr Rowe, 51, said after today's hearing: "I think it was a very fair judgment in what is an unprecedented case. This one vote for the Labour Party should never have been counted. I am not alleging it was a 'fix' - the Labour Party were very lucky. But now the ballot papers will have to be transported to London and gone through."

24dash

22 comments:

John M said...

I've been to dozens of counts as a former Labour Party agent and each party has scrutineers to decide which dicey votes can and can't go through and be counted. His scrutineers must have agreed that this counted as a Labour vote or it would never have been counted. Sounds like sour grapes because he lost at the toss-up.

Old Sailor said...

One wonders wherethe BNP's costs are comming from ?

The legal fund from EBanks purchance ?

In view of past BNP behavior I trust that security for costs was agreed.

BTW I have acted as agent/counting scrutineer often enough and the rule most presiding officers adheer to is if the intention of the elector is clear.

If votes are to be excluded on the basis it is not a X in the box my best judgement is that 10% o9f all votes would fall.

Anonymous said...

To John m,

Normally yes: votes that are out of the ordinary, and/or unclear, are decided by agreement between the parties concerned, and by reference to a book of previous decisions made in similar cases. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in this case. The BNP electoral agent was not shown this vote, despite requesting to be allowed to see it, and had only glances of it as it was counted.

The question that should be asked is: why was no full examination, of all the votes, conducted in the presence of all the electoral agents concerned? This case was brought not by the British National Party, but by three ordinary voters in the ward, which ever way it goes this case will cost the council (ie rate payers) thousands, not good use of public money, and certainly not democratic.

Anonymous said...

To old sailor;

Agreed, the rule normally is that the intention of a voter must be clear, in order that a vote be valid. But does a single stroke through a candidates number, which appears on the opposite side of the candidates name to the voting box, constitute a clear intention?

This vote had been rejected by the returning office in the first two counts, and was only included in the final count. Not to decide a tie, but to introduce such a situation. The returning officer was inexperienced, this being his first election in the position, and a court has now decided a recount of all the votes should be undertaken. My feeling is this should have been undertaken without the need for a costly court case. Let’s see what that produces before we start accusing people of sour grapes.

One final point is that this is a private action taken by voters in the ward, and the BNP is not official involved, and so would not be liable for costs if the case failed. But one has to ask oneself anyway, should the right to challenge such a decision be given only to the rich? Because if it were necessary to prove you could afford to repay costs, if the case were lost, that is exactly what would be happening.

Anonymous said...

"Normally yes: votes that are out of the ordinary, and/or unclear, are decided by agreement between the parties concerned, and by reference to a book of previous decisions made in similar cases. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in this case. The BNP electoral agent was not shown this vote, despite requesting to be allowed to see it, and had only glances of it as it was counted."

That's crap. I've attended counts and if there's a query ALL candidates have the right to examine the ballot slip and agree whether or not it goes through. A single disputant and the vote isn't counted. Had the BNP election agent really asked to see the vote in question, he/she would certainly have been allowed to do so. You pro-BNP lot make it up as you go along. Unable to sweep the country in the way you would like, you resort to any dirty tricks.

Anonymous said...

They should do a completely new vote for the ward.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous;

I’m afraid it was the case that the BNP’s electoral agent was refused permission to examine (or even look closely at) the vote. As for dirty tricks this is not which the BNP has brought, due to the expense involved, it’s a private case brought by ordinary voters in the ward.

Before resorting to accusations of dirty tricks, why don’t we all wait for the final outcome of the case.

As for the suggestion of a total rerun of the election, that should only be undertaken due to the cost to ratepayers) as the very last possible option.

Anonymous said...

"it’s a private case brought by ordinary voters in the
ward"

I don't think that's right. Can't a case like this be brought only by an aggrieved party? If it IS the case, who ARE these 'ordinary voters'? Not BNP-supporters, by any chance?

Anonymous said...

No: any voter in the ward can summit an election petition to the courts.

The logic goes like this: it’s the voters right to chose there councillor which has been violated, therefore it is the voters who are the aggrieved parties in the election. Although I believe that an election agent can also start a court action, as per the Sharon Eubank (or what ever her name was) case.

As for the case being brought by British National Party supporters, should that matter?

Anonymous said...

The fact that the BNP are the aggrieved party is irrelevant. If there is a good case that the Returning Officer made a mistake, then it is entirely right and proper that a recount should be ordered.

Sean Fear

Anonymous said...

"Normally yes: votes that are out of the ordinary, and/or unclear, are decided by agreement between the parties concerned, and by reference to a book of previous decisions made in similar cases. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in this case. The BNP electoral agent was not shown this vote, despite requesting to be allowed to see it, and had only glances of it as it was counted."

That's crap. I've attended counts and if there's a query ALL candidates have the right to examine the ballot slip and agree whether or not it goes through. A single disputant and the vote isn't counted. Had the BNP election agent really asked to see the vote in question, he/she would certainly have been allowed to do so. You pro-BNP lot make it up as you go along. Unable to sweep the country in the way you would like, you resort to any dirty tricks.


Sorry, but you are wrong. I've attended votes as both NF and BNP representative, and in Eastbourne the Labour party asked for the BNP not to be allowed to see any votes being scrutinised (over-ruled after a complaint from the Tories) and in London I have had Labour getting the vote checking done in a private room to which the NF were not invited.

Also in Eastbourne, the Labour candidate asked for all BNP votes that had used a tick to be rejected as 'unclear', but all Labour ones to be allowed as it was 'more democratic'!

Labour tend to use more 'dirty tricks' than any other party, especially where they run the council.

I don't know the exact details in this case, but Labour pushing through dodgy votes on their own behalf, and not letting BNP members see what is going on, is all too possible.

I only hope that ALL ballots are re-checked, including any that were rejected. I wonder if there are any BNP votes that were rejected for being in exactly the same format as the Labour one? Wouldn't be a bit surprised!

Anonymous said...

The BNP REFUSED to foot the bill to bring it thus far. Burnley BNP councillors and local members paid for this court case but you watch Griffin try to take the credit, the greasy oily bastard.

Whenever it involves money the BNP cut you loose.

Regards

SE

Anonymous said...

As all voting ballot papers are identifiable (albeit that this can only be done with a court order), it would be possible for a sworn officer of the court to visit the voter concerned and ask him what his/her intention was. No candidate would have to know the voters identity, and it would mean that all parties would have to trust the court official involved.

It may of course not work, as the voter might not want to discuss it, but there would be a good possibility that such an action would solve the situation, without the need for an expensive election rerun.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why a voter should have to show he (or she) can afford to meet a councils cost before being allowed access to the courts in a case like this?

As always it’s one law for the rich and another one for the poor.
We live in a democracy, don’t make me laugh!

Anonymous said...

Democracy is just. Trouble is you don't always get the winner you want.

Anonymous said...

give it a rest ebanks. How's the BNP police investigation / NNP going by the way?

Anonymous said...

"As all voting ballot papers are identifiable (albeit that this can only be done with a court order), it would be possible for a sworn officer of the court to visit the voter concerned and ask him what his/her intention was.".

But, you would need witnesses to back up what the sworn officer of the court claimed the voter said would yout not?

Supposing he/she had changed their mind in the period bewteen the time the election took place and now?

The fairest thing all round is a full recount as is being done.

It's more democratic and UAF should be all in favour of it. I wager if the BNP had 'won' by the coin they'd be all for a recount

Antifascist said...

'I wager if the BNP had 'won' by the coin they'd be all for a recount'

You'd be wrong then. If the vote comes to a draw and there's a toss of a coin to get a winner, so be it. It's up to the candidates and their agents to demand recounts, not us.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
give it a rest ebanks. How's the BNP police investigation / NNP going by the way?

6:52 PM, September 13, 2007"


FUCK OFF YOU TWAT

Anonymous said...

Gordon Brown has just called Margaret Thatcher a conviction politician.

If Keir Hardie were alive today he would be a member of the British National Party, then we really could have a real challenge to Nick’s leadership. The race I think would be close; Nick by a short nose is my guess. Who would I vote for, I don’t know.

The BNP web site is over seven times more popular than New Labour’s site, and more popular than all the other UK political sites put together!

Anonymous said...

"The BNP web site is over seven times more popular than New Labour’s site, and more popular than all the other UK political sites put together!"

Labour get seven times more votes, so brag when the BNP catches up.

Anonymous said...

The muppets really believe their own press clippings dont they???its not that their supporters are logging onto the site to get all the news, its the opposistion so that brilliant blogs like this one can then pull all of the lies and rubbish to pieces.

Come on Nazis wake up and smell the coffee if you want to know what is really going on within the BNP log on here, or the voice of reason, or join Mr Fister where you can read the truth and have a laugh at the same time.