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Concerns over people voting more than once in Welsh Labour leadership contest

20 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Left: Vaughan Gething – Right: Jeremy Miles

Martin Shipton

Concerns have been raised about the security of the ballot in the Welsh Labour leadership election after it became clear that some individuals could potentially vote multiple times.

The election system is complicated by the fact that both Labour Party members and those who belong to organisations affiliated to the party like trade unions are able to vote. Many party members also belong to unions or other affiliated bodies like the Fabian Society and the Socialist Health Association.

Both candidates for the leadership – Economy Minister Vaughan Gething and Education Minister Jeremy Miles – belong to three trade unions, meaning that technically they could qualify for four votes, even though Labour insists that people should only vote once.

Some party members are uneasy about the anomaly. After receiving a ballot paper, Joe Allen, a policy officer with Wales TUC, posted a message to X, formerly Twitter, which said: “Just voted in the Welsh Labour leadership election via my union membership. Had to tick a box saying I wouldn’t also be voting as a party member. Seemed like this was the only thing designed to stop double voting?“

Integrity

We asked Welsh Labour what steps were being taken to ensure the integrity of the ballot. A spokesperson said: “Leadership elections in Wales are conducted using OMOV+, [One Member One Vote for party members and affiliates], voted for by members in 2018. This means that individual levy-paying members of affiliated trade unions and members of other affiliates vote alongside individual members in a one member, one vote ballot.

“As is made clear on all the ballot papers issued, any party member who attempts to cast more than one vote in this election will be liable to disciplinary action by the party.”

It is understood that the data provided is “de-duplicated” ahead of the ballots being sent out, with the intention of ensuring that individuals can’t vote more than once. However, in what is described as a small number of instances, where party data and affiliate data are different, members may have received two ballots.

Members of affiliated organisations are asked to confirm during the ballot that they are not also party members and are reminded that they only get one vote.Further checks are taken while the ballot is open, duplicates will be removed, and further action taken where necessary.

Both candidates told Nation.Cymru that they would only be voting once, as party members.

Trade unions

Equally, both Mr Gething and Mr Miles have declared to the Senedd’s Register of Members’ Interests that they are members of the trade unions GMB, Unite and Unison.

A spokesperson for Vaughan Gething’s campaign said: “Welsh Labour’s rules are clear that eligible voters are entitled to one vote and that action will be taken if members attempt to vote more than once. Eligible voters should ensure their ballot is returned by March 14.”

A spokesperson for Jeremy Miles said: “All voters in this election are entitled to one vote only. The party is clear that attempting to vote multiple times will result in all votes being cancelled and the individual would face possible disciplinary action. We encourage everyone to return their ballots by March 14.”

The first time the present voting system was used was in 2018, when Mark Drakeford defeated Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan to become Welsh Labour leader and First Minister.

A Welsh Labour insider told us: “Welsh Labour’s ‘foolproof’ system that caught nobody out last time despite issuing thousands of duplicate ballots is not one anyone should have complete faith in. Most of us wouldn’t dream of voting more than once but we probably all know someone who has said they did. A robust system that we can all have confidence in would be one where each person only gets sent one vote. We are, after all, electing the leader of Wales as well as of the party.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

There is no security for the voter against the bad actions of our devious political class in Cymru…

Hill Farmers sold down the Nant…(see Defra too scared of Ministers to stand up for hill farmers)…

How much did Drakeford know?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Par for the course. Duplicate voting is just part of the “secure” system designed by the Bay supremacy. When they bring in the closed lists it will ramp up from “duplicate” to “multiple” to ensure increased “participation”.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Sunak promises NFU the Earth, Trump style…

Drakeford puts our farmers in detention, writing one hundred times…

Annwyl Mr & Baroness Bumble, we promise not to ask for more ever again…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Sunak soft-soaps England’s farmers, he can see how hard they work, (from the helicopter as he flies over them) that is so absentee landlord…

Just like the Landed Gentry! What’s that Rishi you have your fingers crossed behind your back…we should hope so…whatever works for you… but remember you work for us…

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Like you, I have no time for Sunak and his dodgy, blood sucking chums.
But it is the Welsh Labour Party that’s screwing the Welsh farmers, destroying education and taking pleasure in announcing wonderful levels of poverty.
Point your negative comments in the right direction!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

What’s up Doc…I point them where I want…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Right on Mr Crace…

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

When pointing your negative comments where you want, why not open your eyes and look at the state of our nation.
Sunak may well be a useless blood sucker, but all the ills that affect our nation can be laid at Labour’s door.
And by the way, you have plenty to say – shame you feel the need to hide behind a pen name.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

When were we in dispute about ‘Welsh’ Labour’s part in all this…for accuracy I have only ever voted in a Plaid county so whose democracy is best…If you count pot holes Gwynedd is best…

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