Dear Mr Dyke, I am writing to express grave concern at events at Polling Stations in Maryport yesterday. It became very clear that the problems we had highlighted previously to you and to the Council had not been fully addressed.
As your staff witnessed, we had Polling Agents in every polling station in Maryport South from the opening of polls until the very close.
All of them witnessed first hand and recorded electors turning up at the polls, who should have been sent postal vote forms, asking to vote and being denied that right.
They complained bitterly and angrily that they had not been sent the forms despite appearing on your official update list as absent voters.
Some of these electors had earlier rung your office to complain of the non-arrival of their postal votes and had been told that they should simply go along and vote in person.
When they did so, they were then told by your staff that they could not vote. Our Polling Agents and campaign workers witnessed angry scenes at every single polling station as voters found that your office's failure/refusal to supply the postal votes for which they had applied well before the legal deadline had disenfranchised them.
Similarly, a significant number of our proxy voters found that no letters had been sent to them. As a result, my campaign team and I had to spend several hours yesterday - when we should have been free to knock on doors and increase the turnout - working out who had which proxy and which polling station they had to go to and clashing with your staff over the right to use perfectly legitimately assigned proxies.
This in addition to the fact that nine proxy vote registrations were rejected and you have not provided genuine and acceptable reasons for your decisions.
Further, as you will remember, I gave you a list of over 100 people whose applications to register to go on the electoral roll, and/or to receive a postal vote or to give a proxy vote, had been rejected for no good reason.
Against a ruling from the Electoral Commission, none of the electors affected have been informed of the issues by Allerdale Council, as is legally required.
By far the biggest issue is the non-delivery of postal ballots to voters whose postal vote applications had, according to your own updated list, actually succeeded.
We already know of dozens of this specific non-delivery issue. The real total will be into three figures.
All said electors were clearly BNP supporters and I demand that a comparison be made between the delivery rate for postal voters recently registered by the BNP and those already on the register in Maryport and in the rest of Cumbria..
Electors told me that their registration failed but they had not been contacted to remedy this despite your indicating to me that this would be done and your obligations in this regard.
Also, the unacceptably late posting of a significant number of postal votes will have caused the late arrival and therefore late posting of many postal votes.
Those electors will also have been denied their voice by the disgraceful actions of your office. I demand to be told the number of postal votes received by your office after the deadline.
Again, I also require a comparison between the late return rate for Maryport and the rest of the county,
To compound the problem above, electors who contacted Allerdale Council directly for the re-issue of non-delivered PVs found it almost impossible to do so. On the advice of your office, our activists took electors in person to Allerdale House, complete with passport IDs, for instant re-issue - only to be kept waiting for over an hour and then be sent home without the promised votes.
This is a very serious matter and, whatever the result of the election, I request a full investigation as to why a significant number of people were denied their right to vote.
If such a level of official obstruction of the democratic process and denial of the rights of electors had been witnessed in an election anywhere else in the world, it would be headline news.
Cumbria now appears to be a banana republic, without the bananas.
I anticipate Allerdale's stock answer to the above litany will be that "each individual elector must complain to us in writing".
I can inform you that dozens of such electors do intend to complain officially. I think you under-estimate the anger and disillusionment with the democratic process this has caused, but I can also inform you that the British National Party will be facilitating legal assistance for a class action by those whose who have been denied their democratic right by the actions and failures of your department.
In the meantime, please note that I make these complaints: a) on behalf of the disenfranchised individual electors, b) on behalf of the candidates, c) as an election agent and, d) as the National Nominating Officer of the British National Party.
National Nominating Officer,
British National Party
Copies: Electoral Commission; Times & Star, other media, and - most important - those electors we already know to have been denied the right to vote.
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