Elections: Hackney voters sent multiple polling cards
PUBLISHED: 13:22 05 May 2016 | UPDATED: 13:55 05 May 2016
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People could potentially be voting more than once in today's elections after being sent multiple polling cards, the Gazette can reveal.
The administrative mix-up is the result of those already on the register signing up again to the new Individual Electoral Registration (IER) system using subtle variations of their names and addresses.
For example, if someone was already registered without using their middle name but filled out another form on the government’s website including it, they could be added to the roll twice.
Hackney Council has instructed staff at polling stations to be aware of duplications and call the elections office if they believe someone may be trying to vote twice.
Dr Liz Henton said she had received two polling cards for each of the three ballots taking place in Hackney today after registering online.
“I got two of everything,” she said. “One of the cards says Elizabeth M Henton and the other says Elizabeth MM Henton.
“I went along today and handed in the correct card and they crossed me off the one with the double initials. I had to point out there were duplicates and they said ‘yeah that’s happening to a lot of people’.
“I would imagine it would be very easy to vote twice.”
Another voter told the Gazette he had received three polling cards each with “subtle derivatives” of his name.
A Hackney Council spokeswoman said the town hall had filtered out most of the duplicates, but some remained.
She said: “Under the new IER system, if residents have registered more than once, providing slightly different details, they might appear on the register twice.
“It’s illegal to vote more than once and poll station staff are instructed to check with our elections office where they see examples of this and note on the register where this occurs.”
She added that the problem was affecting borough’s across the capital, and had heard of one person who had tried to register a whopping nine times.
As well as the London Mayoral and the GLA elections, there are by-elections for ward councillors in the Hackney Downs and Stoke Newington wards taking place today.
To find your nearest polling station, click here.