Barnet's Labour councillors have welcomed news from Barnet council that the promised investigation into last Thursday's election blunder will be independent and external.
Incomplete electoral registers were sent to all 155 polling stations in Barnet for the London elections, resulting in hundreds of people being turned away because their names were not listed. It appears the mistake was discovered when the polls opened at 7am but it took over 3 hours for the the correct registers to be sent to the polling stations.
Polling cards were accepted at some polling stations as proof of registration, but not at others.The public were advised when the error was corrected that they could return to the polling station to vote, and emergency proxy votes were available to those who could not return to vote because of work, but many will have been unable to return to vote for other reasons and would effectively have been disenfranchised.The Leader of the Council has also announced that the Chief Executive and Returning Officer, Andrew Travers, will be leaving the council by mutual agreement.
Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: "We welcome the statement by the Leader of the Council that there will be a full independent and external investigation into the election blunders last Thursday.
"While the Chief Executive has taken ultimate responsibility for the errors, it must be recognised that errors have been made in successive elections in Barnet going back to 2008 under different Returning Officers."The Conservative administration has presided throughout this time making continued cuts to the council, and we must now ensure that this scandal is never repeated and that Electoral Services are adequately resourced with experienced and well trained staff.
“Given that all polling stations were affected and given the large margin of the Labour victory it seems that the mistakes did not affect the overall results on Thursday. Clearly the investigation needs to be thorough to resolve the errors in process that are occurring election to election, and this needs to be done quickly, independently and publicly before the EU Referendum to restore confidence in the system."