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Votes still ‘valid’ despite incumbent name left off ballot, says Electoral Commission

06 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Left, Michelle Brown. Picture by Senedd Cymru (CC BY 2.0). Right, a polling station during the 2021 Senedd election.

The votes cast are still “valid” despite the name of an incumbent Senedd Member being left off a ballot paper, the Electoral Commission has said.

The name of Michelle Brown, who was elected to represent UKIP in 2016 but is now standing as an independent, was not included at polling stations in Arfon and Anglesey because of a “printing error”.

This impacted some people who voted before 10am, who will not have known they were able to vote for the independent candidate.

However, this “will not affect the validity of their vote”, according to the Electoral Commission.

Later voters have been offered “guidance” and have had the opportunity to vote for the candidate regardless, officials have said.

Michelle Brown’s name was on the North Wales regional list. Her name was included at polling stations in other parts of the North Wales region.

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission told Nation.Cymru: “We are aware of the printing issue with the regional Senedd ballot papers issued in the Arfon constituency in Gwynedd and the Isle of Anglesey.

“We are working with the Regional Returning Officer and the relevant local Returning Officers to offer guidance ensuring that voters are aware of the error and can cast their vote correctly today.

“Some people who voted before 10am will have been given an incomplete ballot paper.

“Regrettably these voters will not have known that they were able to vote for the independent candidate missing from their ballot paper.

“This error will not affect the validity of their vote. All valid votes cast today will be counted.”

‘Joint statement’ 

In a joint statement, the regional returning officer for north Wales, Colin Everett, Gwynedd’s returning officer Dilwyn Williams, and the returning officer for Ynys Mon, Annwen Morgan said: “Due to a local printing error the Senedd North Wales Regional Ballot Papers for the Arfon constituency in Gwynedd and Ynys Mon do not include the final listed candidate – Michelle Brown, Independent.

“Voters are now being advised of this error as they attend their local polling stations, and are still being given the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice from the full list of nominated parties and candidates.

“The correct ballot papers are being issued across the other parts of the North Wales region.

“We are working closely with the Electoral Commission, which is providing us with advice and guidance on how we can support voters in casting their vote.”

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Ellie TOWNSEND JONES
Ellie TOWNSEND JONES
1 month ago

It’s not a printing error. Don’t blame printers! This is an officer’s carelessness in leaving a name off, and then no one checking it before handing it over to print. We editors know a thing or two about human error. Most humans make the occasional error. That’s why a second eye is not an option that should ever be dispensed with!

Craig
Craig
1 month ago

Not sure how you “know” this.

Steve George
Steve George
1 month ago

She hasn’t a snowball’s chance of being elected. She’s only standing because she’ll get a bigger redundancies payment than if she just accepted her fate.

The Senedd needs to do something about this. It’s incentivising people to stand just to get more money.

Craig
Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve George

And she lives in England.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago
Reply to  Craig

Then perhaps a residency qualification is in order — i.e. actually live in the country whose politics you wish to participate in.

AnthonyA Coslett
AnthonyA Coslett
1 month ago

Sadly, this constitutes a major error in the administrative procedures preceding the election. This is not a fault that should have gone unnoticed and, although to err is very human, a policy of checks and counter checks should have been in place to make this outcome impossible. All mistakes are forgivable but this one has interfered with the democratic process and the person in overall charge should resign or be dismissed and all others disciplined. If volunteers are involved they should not be called again to assist in future elections. Trust in the electoral process is always fragile and events… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

Her name was inked in on every ballot paper once the ommission was spotted, so if there was anyone in Gwynedd or Ynys Mon who wished to vote for her, they would have been able to do so.

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