To think they shouldn't be allowed to harass voters leaving the polling station

(97 Posts)
PatPig Thu 02-May-13 15:07:14

Went to vote earlier. The incumbent councillor was there (he's a twat) with about four others from his party. As each person came out they were asking for polling numbers.

I slipped in behind another woman when I was leaving so I wouldn't be hassled and have to struggle not to tell them to 'fuck off'. The woman said 'NO!' when asked for her polling number, and then they gave some BS excuse why it was needed, and I think she gave it to them.

Anyway, AIBU to think they should fuck right off from crowding the narrow entrance, chugger style, and harassing voters?

I never give my number. I have never had them come knocking at my door to chase me out to vote.

tiggytape Thu 02-May-13 17:21:28

It is nothing sinister. The vote is still secret and the only reason they ask is to see who has voted because in closely contested areas they will doorstep people tonight.
You don't have to tell them if you don't want to.
I'm not voting today (either London or our part of London doesn't have elections today) but we usually have a few elderly volunteers at our polling station (one from each party) who may be keen but not harassing

There is a theory that it's only the Tories that won't give out their numbers, it's never been proven!
Dawndonna - it has been proven. But for opinion polls. The evidence shows people who vote Tory are less likely to answer opinion polls and therefore the number of Tory votes is often underestimated in polls. The 1992 polls predicted a hung parliament for months but the Tories won convincingly and nobody expected that result. They call it the 'Shy Tory Factor' and since 1992 there has been built in corrections to allow for the fact Tories don't disclose how they vote.

hackmum Thu 02-May-13 17:27:04

It's mostly to call out their own voters - if you've said on the doorstep you'll vote for them, they can cross you off the list when they know you've voted. Then they look at all the people who have pledged support but haven't voted so they can ring on their doorbell later.

They're not supposed to wear rosettes as that can be seen as trying to influence the vote.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 02-May-13 17:27:59

Thing is, it's only worth giving them your number if you've previously given a political party the idea that you might consider voting for them and hence are on their list of 'people to harass to get out and vote'.

Having dabbled in this sort of thing before, it appears that any response short of chasing the canvasser off your land with a shotgun gets you put down as a 'possible' grin

TeamEdward Thu 02-May-13 17:29:07

Is it because they're ashamed to admit being Tory?

Longdistance Thu 02-May-13 17:32:55

This would bug me.
They seem like they broke rule 2 under the tellers must not.

YoniMitchell Thu 02-May-13 17:35:00

Surely if you're only giving them your number, they still have no way of knowing if or how you actually voted?

(Or am I missing something?)

Viviennemary Thu 02-May-13 17:42:53

I don't think there is any obligation to give them your number. However, some of them come forward as quite official and would like you to believe you do have to give your number but you don't.

tiggytape Thu 02-May-13 17:43:28

Yes TeamEdward - it is exactly that. After the 1992 polling disaster when every poll totally failed to spot the true extent of Tory support, they discovered many people feel it is seen as selfish or undesirable to admit to voting Tory so they just say 'undecided' instead.
Which meant that some polls underestimated the Tory vote by as much as 10%

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 02-May-13 17:49:23

YoniMitchell, they're assuming that if you went into the polling station, you actually voted. But they don't need to know who for! They just need to tick you off the list of their supporters, if you're on it. They'll have a database with the code number on your polling card, your name address and phone no., and how they think you intend to vote.

I believe where there are tellers from different parties present, it's considered good form to share the collected voter numbers.

YoniMitchell Thu 02-May-13 18:04:07

Thanks Boulevard, so in that case I really don't see the problem - if you're on their list of supporters, surely you've already told them of your intention or leaning (so can't really moan about it by then). If they're just assuming you're political leanings, then that's up to them if they're wrong - after all, there's no need to comment or correct them!

Personally I don't see what the issue it - either tell them or don't.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ModreB Thu 02-May-13 18:57:34

The poll isn't anonymous - your name is marked off the Register when you have voted, and after the election the marked register is released, so they know who voted.

Also, when you are issued with a Ballot Paper, this has a number on it that is not connected to your number on the Register, but they note which paper ballot was given to which person, so they could, in theory, look at it and see how you voted, but they only look at them if there is a query or accusation of cheating or fraud.

If you have a postal ballot, it saves a lot of hassle.

Sokmonsta Thu 02-May-13 19:01:27

Postal ballot all the way smile

Councillors of any persuasion daren't call down our road as everyone is likely to ask what they would do to help us with x, y, z. And the truth is none of them want to and we're not on any route where it's likely to embarrass the council.

TiredFeet Thu 02-May-13 19:08:13

they aren't allowed to harass you, and you don't have to give your name. if you have a problem with the way they were treating you, you should tell one of the officers inside the polling station! they know they are not allowed to harass you, and they are not allowed to make you feel that you have to give your details

TiredFeet Thu 02-May-13 19:09:02

(or, if you don't want to go back in, call the elections office - details will be on your poll card, and they will deal with it)

Melawen Thu 02-May-13 19:12:33

I got asked on the way in and I just said I didn't want to tell them, they said ok and I went my merry way!

I've never come across this in the 3 different polling stations I've been eligible to vote in

Actually thinking about it, who memorises their number to be able to give it on the way out anyway?

I'm with Sokmonsta. Did it by post last week. Sorted-and no speaking to people.

I'm very surprised by the Electoral Commission guidelines, when I worked in elections the law was very clear that tellers could not approach people before they entered the polling station (although in practice this happened all the time and led to constant snarking between parties).

Tellers have absolutely no legal rights and frankly it's a waste of time for everyone concerned.

I always say 'No' and I'm no Tory!
I always tell the Tories that I'm undecided so that they waste their resources on me. wink

LaLaGabby Thu 02-May-13 19:53:29

For all the people who can't see what's wrong with them, they often don't take no for an answer and I have experienced them on one occasion literally pretending to be officials and insisting that you have to tell them your number. This was in an area where they will confuse a lot of people who don't have a good understanding of how things work.

The line about them not knocking on your door later is clearly rubbish since they are not going to do that to anyone except someone who has expressed a clear preference in their favour, and those people would be happy to tell them that they've voted. They are trying to predict the result, also to get numbers per polling station that they can use to canvass next time.

Dawndonna Thu 02-May-13 20:30:00

Each polling station has a designated number of people using it. Everybody involved knows this. Each party has access to the number of people in each ward who cast a vote at the last election, so that is what they would use the following election. They can't predict a result from the telling slips. They just want to ensure that those saying they would support have done so.

Bobyan Thu 02-May-13 20:32:39

I've gone back into the polling station before and complained before about them...

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