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?

ArgyMargy Fri 03-May-13 15:25:22

Good point, Thermals. We were lucky enough to take our son along for the Police Commissioner elections. It was his first vote and we were able to talk about the importance of voting (even in such a ridiculous situation) and how lots of things are confusing. For example not putting on the ballot paper which party each candidate is representing. I remember once when I was young being completely floored by the pencils and almost froze with terror of "doing it wrong".

Pyrrah Fri 03-May-13 14:15:46

Even with postal votes, people go to the count to check signatures are in order. As they go through the scanner, a team will write down the numbers as they flash up - they're only there for less than a second.

Then signatures that the machine thinks don't match are put up an screen and a decision made whether they do or don't and parties can contest.

The voting papers are then opened and laid out face-down - although you can't see what is written, if you know the place of the box you are interested in then you can often see the indent from the cross and mark down if it's in that box or one of your opponents.

All totally legal - some people are better and quicker at doing it than others though!

Another thing that many people don't know is that politicians are legally entitled to canvass and to post literature through doors - unlike pizza delivery companies!

thermalsinapril Fri 03-May-13 14:15:08

When I turned 18 I could have done with a brief guide to the voting process. Not just the obvious bit of putting a cross in the box. But what you do when you arrive, who do you talk to at the desk if there's more than one person (and none of them say hello), do you need to bring anything, how many times you fold the ballot paper, what if there's more than one box (which do you use?), do you need to do anything before you leave, do you have to talk to the people outside etc. etc.

MiaowTheCat Fri 03-May-13 14:03:15

What's scary from this thread is how little people know about the actual voting process - from the status of the people outside (and I've seen tellers doing a very dicey dance over the pretending to be official bod who needs numbers line), to the logistics of what happens inside (see the confusion some people have over numbers being written down outside and lists ticked off inside).

That's really rather concerning that we still have that lack of knowledge from the section of society who are actually going out TO vote.

And in contention for the "crappest turnout in a polling stations" - I give you the one I voted at one year who were rocking up with a record THREE voters (all members of my family) by the time I showed up at 4pm one local election, or the one I poll clerked in one year who got to a stonking FIFTEEN people by close of polls!

Pyrrah Fri 03-May-13 13:51:12

To be honest, Parties have a very good idea of how any individual will vote.

They use profiling software that is address specific and will tell them your buying habits, the kind of car you probably have, the newspaper you probably read, the kind of job and educational level you will have. From this it is very, very easy to predict your likely voting preference.

Various groups are also more likely to vote - older people for example, or various social-economic groups. So effort is concentrated on those sectors.

Knocking up tends to be done only in marginal wards in local elections. When I was a councillor, I didn't campaign in my ward because it was a safe seat, I campaigned, did telling and data entry in a neighbouring ward that was a very tight marginal and every vote counted.

Parties are not only looking to see if their own vote is out, they are also looking to see if the other party's vote is out.

In General Elections, volunteers from other areas get sent down to marginals to mobilise the vote and no-one bothers sending people in in safe seats.

So, if you live in a street that profiles you as an almost dead-cert labour voter in a Tory/LD marginal then you are likely to be seen as a prime target as a squeeze voter (ie since your likely political party doesn't stand a chance then you could be persuaded to back the lesser of two evils rather than waste a vote).

On the whole staunch Tories are not a good bet for changing their allegiances for tactical purposes - unless you are from UKIP - and so the LD/Labour teams will keep away.

For months before any election, computer data will have been profiled and lists drawn up of defs and probs (definites and probables) and the no chancers or known members of other parties.

It is quite frightening how much information is out there on everyone - my parents didn't believe it until I printed off the 8 pages on their address and likely profile! It was scarily accurate.

Wincher Fri 03-May-13 13:04:20

I did a couple of shifts of this at the last general election, I was quite surprised how many people were happy to give me their number! God it was a boring job!

MonMome Fri 03-May-13 13:01:03

I did this yesterday for a few hours; it's not true that you must not be asked on the way in to the polling station, it can be either (Returning Officers advise).

Most of us ask politely whether the voter would mind us taking their number/address - anyone can refuse and it's not a problem. I certainly wasn't looking to influence voting, I was just pleased that lots of people were!

Did spend the first two hours being talked at by the UKIP candidate, but that's another story. Oh, and the people who wished me luck on their way out that thought I was the candidate presumably didn't look at their ballot papers too closely, I'm fairly sure I don't look like a Bob*!

*not actual name wink

DreamingofSummer Fri 03-May-13 12:41:49

Each party will have a list of voters who have said that they will vote for them. They will then compile a list of these names and their voter numbers from the electoral role.

The tellers take these numbers so they can go out later and encourage people to actually vote.

They are not allowed in the poling station so have to hover outside.

They can't demand you tell them.

You can mess the system up by giving a wrong number or by lying about your intentions on the doorstep. You don't have to be personally offensive to the, usually nice, volunteers.

Maybe that is why we don't have tellers down here. Much easier, nobody to hassle you on the way out and they dispose of the card for you smile

Do they? I forgot to take mine yesterday. In that case I definitely woudn't know my number on the way out, what a silly system.

They take the card off you inside though so you wouldn't have it on the way out. This happened at all 3 polling stations I've ever voted at so assumed it was the same everywhere.

Your number is on your card isn't it? I usually take my card. I still say no to the tellers though.

They were asking on the way in yesterday when I went (they asked a coupe in front of who stopped to chat so I walked past and they didn't ask me on my way out). I think it is a bit of a cheek to be honest, I remember feeling a bit intimidated by all these people with their rosettes and clipboards when I first went to vote and wasn't sure what they were doing. They used to stand right in the door of that polling station so it was hard to ignore them, at the one I go to now they sit outside on a couple of garden chairs well to one side and look like they are there for a good old natter with all their friends as they come along.

Those of you that encounter these tellers, how do you know your number to tell them. Do you write it down or remember it? It just seems bizarre to me. I've never looked to see what my number is, all I check when I get the card is my name, when and where I vote.

ArgyMargy Fri 03-May-13 12:23:04

YANBU. For me, voting is mandatory, personal and private. I would be livid if anyone demanded any information from me at any stage in the process (apart from the people who dish out the ballot papers of course). But no-one ever has, presumably because the results in our ward/constituency are a depressingly foregone conclusion...

thermalsinapril Fri 03-May-13 12:18:50

I never answer them. It's none of their business.

PipkinsPal Fri 03-May-13 12:06:49

As polling stations are open until 10pm I always go to vote at about 9.30pm when candidates and the rest of the hangers on have gone home. Once I had a local Labour candidate knock on my door and he shook my hand, I don't do touching of strangers, I'm not even a comfortable hugger of friends and family either. He asked if I would be voting Labour I said "never" and then he asked who I would be voting for and I told him "that's private". That put the smarmy creep in his place.

I find it irritating and have never told them and never will, none of their business. I have also never voted Tory.

HollyBerryBush Fri 03-May-13 05:47:10

I got asked on the way in

Did you know that is illegal? They can only conduct exit polls, not attempt to procure you vote on the way in? I reported my spivvy ex-labour councillor for the temerity to speak to me before I voted grin (some years ago)

piprabbit Fri 03-May-13 03:44:20

When I started voting at 18, the teller told me that I had to tell them my number and who I had voted for and I couldn't legally refuse.
Since then I stomp past them all with a scowl. It really is none of their business and as they never bother to come and canvass me during the lead up to an election or engage with me in any way (I've met our MP but that was because he opened a fete) I don't see why I should help them try and boost their voter turnout.

georgettemagritte Fri 03-May-13 03:42:14

(Obviously you can refuse to tell the tellers your number, but they aren't doing anything particularly interesting with it! If you don't, they just add a blank into the program so they know how many people voted, for estimating the turnout at different polling stations. That data (on pads or in the computer) doesn't really get looked at much again, if at all, once the "knocking up" is finished. It can be very interesting to see how the raw turnout differs at different polling stations in area with different demographics.)

georgettemagritte Fri 03-May-13 03:38:33

ModreB is right - though who you actually voted for is secret, it's public information whether you did or didn't vote - the marked electoral roll of who voted is released some time after the election. The parties have software which uses the marked roll for canvassing during the following year - when you call at someone's house to canvass, you have info on whether or not they voted in the last few elections.

The tellers outside polling stations are using the data to enter into a special software program in order that they can keep a running check of the turnout and the voters who have definitely told them for or against, so that they can call on voters who support them but haven't voted yet to remind them to vote or offer lifts to the polling station and so on. Before the software, this used to be done on paper pads by hand, keeping track of the vote!

I've never had anyone doing an exit poll when I've voted, but then I live in a very small village, and I think they only get about 40 people turn up all day. The people inside always seem to be very excited when someone arrives.

JennySense Fri 03-May-13 00:14:31

When I stood for Council elections this is what happened:
Tellers asked voters for their polling numbers. The numbers were picked up at intervals by other party volunteers and continually fed into some software on a computer.
The numbers were matched against the info we'd been given on the doorstep, particularly so we could check if our supporters had voted yet and could "knock up" if we needed to.
From the numbers we could see whether "our vote" had turned out versus the opposition's vote, albeit with a margin of error.

Mumsyblouse Thu 02-May-13 23:56:55

Someone phoned me today and said 'oh hello, I'm from the X councillor's party, have you been and voted yet?' I said 'yes', she said 'may I ask if you voted for X councillor?' I said 'no, you may not ask'!!!

Can you believe it- phoning up and asking who I'd voted for? Umm it's a secret, that's the whole point.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 02-May-13 23:55:11

I am not really understanding what is so bad about anyone encouraging me to vote, either. If they come to my door and I don't wish to speak to them, I say so.

Really don't get this thread

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