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?

SlimFitWellies Thu 02-May-13 15:13:06

Oh, is that what they were asking for when we went out this morning?

I was a bit behind DH, and heard the incumbent (also a twat) mutter something and the half-heard Dh say 'tinpot council..... corruption..... Private Eye...' which mortified me. But, they did not bother us going in, which at the time I thought was strange.

(edited to add that Dh loves a bit of stirring.)

hufflebottom Thu 02-May-13 15:16:50

they did that to me. My reply was 'oh is it polling day, no one told me...oh i only went to use the toilets'

very confused idiot with a clipboard.

It's really annoying. YANBU

PatPig Thu 02-May-13 15:20:51

They are called tellers, and basically they tick your name off a list so they know if you've voted. There's not supposed to be (according to guidance rather than any law) more than one per party, but that didn't seem to be the case to me.

PeterParkerSays Thu 02-May-13 15:22:51

I got asked on the way in, I think it's only so they can see who bothers to turn out to vote. In general elections, the candidates can then go door knocking on those doors where people haven't voted and leave alone the people who have.

What was the BS reason they gave why it was needed? It's not like they can in any way influence how you voted.

PeterParkerSays Thu 02-May-13 15:23:40

We had just one per party, they had matching red or blue rosettes. Very fetching.

PatPig Thu 02-May-13 15:24:45

I didn't really hear, but the woman said no, and that should have been that.

SlimFitWellies Thu 02-May-13 15:26:18

we had one per party too. Blue and Purple rosette. What a choice. hmm

KoreRenati Thu 02-May-13 15:37:39

I was wondering why I got asked for my number on the way in and then got ticked off once I actually got my ballot paper. Wonder which party the woman was from, didn't see any rosettes?

EuroShaggleton Thu 02-May-13 15:42:37

I always refuse to give them my number. Voting in this country is anonymous. It's none of their bloody business whether or not I chose to vote.

One harangued me whining that it was so they wouldn't hassle me by door knocking later. What they mean is that they don't want to waste time doorstepping people who have voted. That's their problem, not mine.

they are only allowed to approach you on the way out of the polling station, and giving them your details is optional. if they cause a problem you should complain to the presiding officer of the polling station.

as peter says they want to make sure all of their supporters have been out to vote, so they can knock on the doors of any who haven't.

Dawndonna Thu 02-May-13 15:51:31

I don't understand what the problem is.
1) It really is to avoid disturbing you later.
2) It is a private ballot, having said that, whilst nobody knows what you voted last time, they do know whether or not you voted. Giving them your number at the polling station doesn't give them an indication of that, but the returning officer crossing off your name and number when they give you your ballot paper does.

Dawndonna Thu 02-May-13 15:52:44

There is a theory that it's only the Tories that won't give out their numbers, it's never been proven! grin

Chopchopbusybusy Thu 02-May-13 15:54:33

Is that right mrsbugsy? I got asked for my number this morning on the way in. I was in a very bad mood and when the woman asked me I just said no and carried on my way. If she's not supposed to ask on the way in I've a good mind to pop up again later when DH goes to vote.

ConferencePear Thu 02-May-13 15:55:55

You don't have to answer. It's none of their business.

ConferencePear Thu 02-May-13 15:56:42

You don't have to answer. It's none of their business.

MiaowTheCat Thu 02-May-13 16:40:05

I usually just say "sorry I don't want to give you that information" and it's fine (quite often end up having a chat with them anyway).

Disappointingly not door knocked by any of the candidates round here - since there's one big issue I'd like to have raised with them (since the sitting councillors ignore emails totally) - bah!

Pyrrah Thu 02-May-13 16:46:50

You don't need to give them the number, but having done telling a gazillion times, it does actually save you potential hassle later.

No-one sits and analyses who did or didn't vote. Some kid is sitting in an office ticking them off by number (don't even look at names) so that those on the phone banks or 'knocking up' don't hassle people who have already voted - or so that they can check if party members/supporters have gone out to vote yet (and offer them a lift to the polling station if they haven't).

No-one is checking up on you, or wanting to know who you voted for - although always nice to be told. The pieces of paper go in the bin at the end of the day.

Never minded people saying they didn't want to, but some people are incredibly rude.

Pyrrah Thu 02-May-13 16:48:33

Oh and you can have more than one person - generally one or two people are telling (clipboards and rosettes only) and the others will hand out literature etc. Tellers can't hand out literature.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 02-May-13 16:53:59

Sorry, I don't see how being asked one question is "being harrassed"

sorry I have checked and I was wrong blush apparently they can approach voters on the way in. my memory must have faded since I was a poll clerk a few years ago

there is information about what tellers are allowed to do here

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 02-May-13 16:57:27

And OP, you sound like you were just in a bit of a bad mood

ATJabberwocky Thu 02-May-13 17:04:07

OP you do seem to be in a bad mood, just say no and leave it at that.

I didn't even realise the tick against your name meant anything, but I don't get councillors knocking door-to-door, only the odd leaflet.

specialsubject Thu 02-May-13 17:05:45

to think that there are countries where you can get shot for trying to vote...

musicmadness Thu 02-May-13 17:12:27

There's no one outside mine, I just got back. Do they only turn up outside certain polling stations? I've never seen anyone asking anything after I've voted confused

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...

Fakebook Thu 02-May-13 20:35:10

We had one, and she was from the Labour Party because dh asked her.

VerySmallSqueak Thu 02-May-13 20:39:11

I am quite happy to tell them my number.
I don't understand what the problem is.

I also have no problem with them asking me who I voted for.

I can always decline if I wish.

ReturnOfEmeraldGreen Thu 02-May-13 22:31:25

I have voted in 5 or so different places and never encountered a teller.

PS: I have looked at some of the OP's other posts and I think she is a Tory, quelle surprise hmm

raisinggirls Thu 02-May-13 22:42:44

I didn't have my card with me so I didn't know my number. Not a problem when I went in, the returning officer (is that what they are called - the people behind the desk?) just looked me up on their list and wrote down my number from there.

If you don't want to be hassled, just tell them you haven't got your card. I did have two toddlers with me instead though, so they probably didn't want to come too close!

Myliferocks Thu 02-May-13 22:43:42

The lone Teller outside the polling station where I voted let me slip through her net.
The room where I voted is in a school and is opposite the reception. I took DS2 with me who had his school uniform on. He doesn't attend the school but the school uniform he wears is the same colour.
I think the lady thought that I was just a parent going to reception as she looked up at me as I walked past, smiled and went back to whatever she was reading.
She looked bored stiff but she missed a golden opportunity to speak to someone.

raisinggirls Thu 02-May-13 22:45:40

The reason I want to keep my vote secret is because people died so that I could do so.

The same reason that I vote at all - women went through incredible struggles to get me the vote, I owe it to them to make my informed selection. This I do based on the individual candidates, so FWIW I have voted for a different party each time over about the last 6 elections.

You can't just assume things about a person's political leanings because they do or do not choose to give over their polling card to the tellers. hmm

ShadowStorm Thu 02-May-13 22:52:51

This all sounds a bit confusing. I've never been tackled on my way out of the polling station by people wanting to know my polling number.

And I don't understand the point of it. When I went in to get my ballot paper, I gave my card to the lady behind the table, and she crossed my name off her list, so the offical ballot people know I voted. Why would other people outside the polling station also need to know whether I'm on their list, when I've already voted?

tiggytape Thu 02-May-13 23:00:51

ShadowStorm - The lady in the booth is neutral. She doesn't care if you vote or not or who you vote for.
The tellers are political. They belong to different parties. So if they see from their form that you haven't voted, they might come and knock on your door later to encourage you to vote (usually only if you've told them before that you support them or if the area is one where the result is often close)

WafflyVersatile Thu 02-May-13 23:09:33

Why would it be saving me from being bothered later? They go knocking on every door they don't have a card in a whole ward?

No one has ever knocked on my door at 9pm urging me to get out and vote.

tiggytape Thu 02-May-13 23:16:42

Waffly - it is pretty rare to get knocked up!
Honestly - that's what they call it. Knocking up voters!

If you told a Labour candidate in the campaign that you fully intend to vote Labour, and if yours is an area where either Lib Dems or Labour might win in a very close result, a Labour person might call at your house at 6pm if they see you haven't voted yet.

Sometimes they call at lunch time and knock you up by card instead so to speak (they pop a card through the door reminding you to vote Labour for example)

ShadowStorm Thu 02-May-13 23:21:31

So, can the tellers only see the list the lady in the booth has (the one you have to get crossed off on to get the ballot paper) once the doors on the polling station are closed to voters?

tiggytape Thu 02-May-13 23:28:16

Tellers have their own list. They collect the numbers of voters as they leave the polling stations.
The lady inside is the official person. She takes everyone's number before they vote.
The Tellers have no powers and are not offcials. They are volunteers working for each political party. They cannot make you show your number whereas the lady inside can.

Myliferocks Thu 02-May-13 23:30:14

When I voted, the man checked my name and address and then wrote a number down on a pad against what looked like other numbers.
Why did he do that?

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 23:31:05

The people outside asking for your number are not in any way official or part of the voting process. They are local party officials.

They want to know if you've voted. That's not about getting out late voters who might support them, it's about knowing whose opinions it's worth listening to, where it's worth leafleting etc. If your street doesn't bother voting much and you're statistically likely to be their party voters, you'll get hassled next time in the run up to the vote. If you're in an area that doesn't bother voting good luck at getting the council to listen if you have a problem in your street.

WafflyVersatile Thu 02-May-13 23:31:52

Ah well, I'd be unlikely to tell anyone I was going to vote for them so I'll not worry.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 23:33:05

Because you only get one! That's inside the voting room. You are handed one ballot and your name is crossed off, so you can't come back five minutes later and go again grin. The list is the electoral roll - the names of those who can vote in that area.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 23:34:32

And the ones outside want your number to know if you vote. They've never asked me who for. They just want to know you vote.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 23:35:36

You don't actually need your number to vote! You can just turn up, even if you've left your card at home.

ShadowStorm Thu 02-May-13 23:36:58

Can't they find out who voted from the electoral roll the official lady has?

Or is that top secret?

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 23:41:25

It's not top secret, but they wouldn't be there if they could just look at that. In some polling stations they are altogether too cosy with the officials. I've seen one set up inside a polling station with a desk, chair, clipboard and rosette looking like they had every right to be there. She wasn't happy when she had to move her chair outside after my Grandma complained grin

beals692 Thu 02-May-13 23:48:14

"When I voted, the man checked my name and address and then wrote a number down on a pad against what looked like other numbers.
Why did he do that?"

After marking you as having voted on the electoral register (so you don't come back later for a second go!) your elector number is written on a list next to the ballot paper number you have been given. At the close of poll, this goes in a sealed envelope which can only be opened on the orders of a judge if they are investigating electoral fraud.

Myliferocks Thu 02-May-13 23:50:38

Thank you beals692!

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.)

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.

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)

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

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.

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

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

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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".

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