Hackney Council blunder saw 1,300 people ‘missed off electoral register’ for General Election

A polling station at the Assembly Halls of Hackney Town Hall on election day last year (Picture: Yui

A polling station at the Assembly Halls of Hackney Town Hall on election day last year (Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire) - Credit: PA WIRE

A Hackney Council blunder nearly cost 1,300 people their votes in last year’s General Election, a damning report has revealed.

Officers were forced to send out emergency lists to polling stations with the names of people who were not on the electoral register but who had signed up to vote in good time, the council admitted.

The Electoral Commission says the town hall did not meet elements of the performance standards required.

Problems with the new electoral management system and a slow processing of data meant the 1,300 voters were not added to the register in time for the May polls.

And they again failed to add a number of voters to the register in time for January.

The new system of Individual Electoral Registration means every person has to register to vote individually. Under the old system, one person in a household could register everybody at that address.

During the transition between the two systems last year, a lack of confidence in the data led to a lack of understanding of the scope and scale of the challenges, the report states.

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The commission also found there was a delay in the implementation of a new system for data matching, meaning a large number of inaccurate details were retained into the elections.

The report concluded the officers were below standard because of the problems they had with the ability of people to register and as these problems affected people’s ability to register, the impact was significant.

Hackney’s electoral registration officer has since met with the commission to discuss the issues and the steps being taken to improve the service.

Hackney’s chief executive Tim Shields said: “There were problems implementing the new Individual Electoral Registration system in Hackney in the run-up to the 2015 elections. On the day, I worked closely with the Electoral Commission to ensure those eligible were able to vote and we’ve apologised to those who were affected.

“Straight after the elections, I ordered a strategic review of the service and the system we use. The Electoral Commission is satisfied that we have made significant progress since and I am confident that we have taken the appropriate steps to reduce the risk of this happening again.”