Thursday, June 04, 2009

UKIP Fury Over Folded Ballot Papers

Just received from Tim Worstall in the UKIP Press Office...

UKIP is being inundated with calls from voters complaining that UKIP is not on the ballot paper.

Voting has only been going on for three hours and already hundreds are calling the UK Independence Party to complain that they were not able to vote for the party.

The problem is that Returning Officers have been folding the ballot papers. They have been folding them so that the last two, three or four parties in alphabetical order are hidden when the first fold of the paper is opened. It thus appears that UKIP is not on the ballot paper.

UKIP has already contacted both the Electoral Commission and the Returning Officers on this matter.

But it is important that the news gets out: that voters must make sure they completely unfold the ballot paper. And that Returning Officers and electoral officials must stop folding the ballot papers.

We have had reports from Carlisle, from York, from Hampshire, Dartford and other places, showing that the problem is nationwide, not just an isolated incident.

UKIP is collecting the names and addresses of those complaining and will be preparing the grounds for a legal challenge to the election result.

161 comments:

Malc said...

My ballot paper was folded in half vertically so all the parties were on it - and visible.

But then again, I'm in Scotland, we know how to run elections without any arse-ups(!)

ContraTory said...

I am sorry, but I am almost lost for words. What is so difficult about opening a folded ballot paper?

Anonymous said...

When I voted, the clerk spent about 30 seconds folding the paper for me, whereupon I unfolded it to vote when in the booth. There is absoloutely no value added in the paper being folded. Why are they doing it?

Cinnamon Marine said...

So what's this actually saying? That UKIP voters aren't bright enough to open a ballot paper properly?

Minx said...

Must be UKIP voters if they aren't smart enough to read the complete paper.

Uncle Bob said...

It is a bit naughty. While I won't vote for them nothing should be done to impair any partys chances. Even the British Racist Party should be given a fair crack at the whip.

Inspector Morse said...

I just came across exactly the same problem - Rushmoor, Hampshire.

David said...

I thought anyone wanting to vote for UKIP would be slightly on the dim side but this rather takes the biscuit.It really makes you wonder if universal sufferage is overrated.
Worst system apart from all the others right enough.

bewick said...

Well Iain if people are THAT stupid then they don't deserve a vote at all!!!

Stronghold Barricades said...

Yes, my paper was handed to me already folded up so that once I'd finished would actually fit into the tiny space of the ballot box

Only one vote though, and multiples of candidates for the ward

Anonymous said...

I've just voted, my European election ballot paper was folded into four but you'd have to be pretty dim to not just open the paper in front of you like a scroll and check. Especially if the party you were attempting to vote for didn't appear.

If you can't unfold a ballot paper you probably shouldn't be voting in the first place so it all evens out for me.

Oliver Drew said...

So, you're suggesting that people not unfolding the ballot paper fully is grounds for a legal challenge?

If people can't be bothered to fully unfold a ballot paper surely that is their problem?

Lola said...

Bloody Hell. Look, it should be obvious to any dimwit that the paper is folded.

Anonymous said...

Er, if you are too stupid to check that the ballot paper is unfolded ... It is hanging chads all over again, but not for the predicted reason.

Steve Hardy said...

If we can take peoples children away because they might be "a bit think" taking a vote away from those that can't even unfold a piece of paper makes perfect sense.

John said...

Presumably this is good news for NO2EU?

graybo said...

I've just been to vote (East Sussex) - the clerk unfolded the paper in front of me when she handed it to me to reveal UKIP and UK First. It would take a particularly intellectually sub-normal person not to unfold the paper to see the full list of candidates, so I don't think there is much grounds for any sort of court action.

Captain Haddock said...

I love it! The Tories claim that the British people are too thick to understand the "complicated" PR systems. UKIP think the British are too thick to be able to unfold a piece of paper! Our European neighbours find this hilarious!

Anonymous said...

My ballot paper was given to me completely flat.

But it's quite a statement that people who are looking to vote UKIP can't work out that the paper has been folded. Would have they have been able to spell X if they'd manage to unfold it?

unseen said...

I just emailed this piece to a couple of friends. One, based in London, saw someone have the same problem at their polling station.

My ballot paper was folded in 4 in the way described too, though I noticed. I had to fold it in 16 to get it in the box.

Adso said...

So on top of everything else, UKIP are now the Sheffield United of politics

trevorsden said...

I have just voted (for Dan Hannah!) and saw the folded papers. Did not think much of it but did wonder why in this case the very bottom box (UKIP) was folded over. Local Authority bigotry?

I don't see it affecting the vote. If UKIP voters are so thick then that says it all.

Thy should have called themselve the BIP.

Alan Douglas said...

West Sussex, my EU voting form was folded in six. I did have to search for UKIP, which was last, beyond the final fold. I had doubted they were on at all, and I reckon not to be totally senile ... yet.

I agree these should not be folded.

Alan Douglas

albertmbankment said...

How utterly pathetic is that? Are UKIP supporters really so blind and/or stupid that they cannot detect a fold in a piece of paper?

It reminds me of the publication of one of the Monty Python books, which had a set of grubby fingerprints as part of the cover-design. Knuckle-draggingly thick booksellers the length of the country returned thousands of copies to the publishers, complaining that they were damaged goods. They came back by the box-load, with irate imputations of sabotage in the warehouse.

Do we really want to be run by a party which counts the terminally senile and idiotic as its core support?

PhilC said...

A BNP agent came to out to the polling station to check the seals on the ballot boxes, said they were worried about voter fraud.
With this and Ukip's blather about folding paper it sounds like the excuses are being prepared early.

Coulton said...

If someone can't work out how to unfold a ballot paper then he/she is not fit to have a vote.

FPP said...

To be fair, in my constituency Labour were well down the list and beyond the fold as well. The paper is well over a foot long - you'd look liek the Andrex puppy walking aroudn with it unfolded and trailign behind you.

Alan Douglas said...

Re some of the comments about UKIP voters being stupid. A paper folded in four is quite different from a paper folded in half, then THAT is folded in three, giving six "panels".

In my case the unweildy form with kinks in it, in the rather small space of the booth, was difficult to handle. The final sixth remained bent back over when I unfolded.

I do think this disadvantages those such as me who the commenters above think are too stupid to vote, even tho I was not voting for any named party, I was trying to garner information prior to voting.

Alan Douglas

Adam said...

My paper was taken off the pad and folded in two. I voted and then had to fold it three times to get it in the ballot box (in North Wales).

My question is though, why does the ballot paper have to be folded when it is handed to you???

JMB said...

Should headline be "UKIP admits their members are too stupid to unfold a ballot paper"?

Are their voters allowed to use pencils or should they be given crayons?

Mirtha Tidville said...

oh well on the bright side of course, if anyone had gone into the box unsure between Tory and Ukip.....looks like a good day for Dave...


Just seen the video on Utube of Dave and his Missus going to vote...watch it she is Hot Hot Hot..

Dr Snuggles said...

My postal ballot had the UKIP box neatly concealed by the fold at the bottom. There are plenty of people with poor eyesight who would miss this, there is no need to invoke stupidity.

Anonymous said...

I voted in York earlier and noticed the issue with the folding of the ballot paper that people might have regarding UKIP. The ballot was folded in such a way that one of the folds was just above UKIP meaning that, since they are at the bottom of the ballot, it just looks like a tiny end-bit. Since UKIP voters are disproportionately older I am sure they would have lost votes because of this. Worryingly the BNP were highly visible at the top of the ballot. I voted Tory, natch.

not an economist said...

May I move a motion that UKIP voters should be barred from voting if they can't even unfold a piece of paper properly ....

DespairingLiberal said...

I protest! My paper did not have a big hand on it pointing to UKIP and saying VOTE HERE. How can I be expected to find them without that?

Bloody government, it's all just a plot to keep us in Europe. Mind you, as a typical UKIP voter, I always quite liked that Herr Hitler bloke. Britain would have been better off under Mussolini. Always go to Spain for me hols! Can't stand most things in Britain really.

Vote Nazi - if you can find it on the form!

The Equalizer said...

At my local polling station they gave you a choice of how you would like the ballot paper folded. I opted for a swan, my partner chose an aeroplane.

Vote Aardvark said...

When I voted, the bottom couple of inches were folded over with a very tight crease - so tight it wasn't easily seen in the dark of my local polling booth. However, if I'd been looking for UKIP, it would have been obvious as I looked down the alphabetical list.

I think I'm going to set up the Aardvark party for next time.

Andy JS said...

At first I thought this was a genuine problem, but now I realise that anyone with two brain cells chould be able to properly unfold a ballot paper. People must be a lot thicker than I'd previously thought.

Lord Lavendon said...

I am extremly pleased to say that whilst I was tempted to vote for UKIP for the Euros , I didn't and this story sums why it is a waste to vote for these people, legal challenge for folding up ballot papers for goodness sake !Seems to me they are preparing to be
ungratious in defeat.

So for those who struggle voting :

- you just UNFOLD the ballot paper and skim down till you find the choice your after .

-In the SE region at least, UKIP is at the botton of the ballot -the ass end so to speak- so it is not that difficult to find .

-Plus there is a picture of each parties symbol next to the party you want to vote for - presumably just in case you can't read or write ( is this 1832 or 2009.)

-Once you have done this , find the picture or name and then put an "x" in the box next to the name/symbol of the party .

PS -There might be a problem in stuffing the ballot into the box and I had to fold it several times to get the paper in the box, as the voting slip was extremly long .

Thinking about it , perhaps this is why the officials are folding them up to give to people......

Doh!

Anonymous said...

the problem is not with the folded ballot paper, more with the morons unable to fathom that out.

Madasafish said...

Are UKIP voters are so elderly/infirm/stupid that they cannot unfold a paper?

Anonymous said...

At the polling station the presiding officer handed me the yellow Euro Ballot paper completely unfolded and ALL names of the parties were perfectly legible.

As another commenter has said - it's obvious(or perhaps not) that the edge of the ballot paper is folded over, if it is, and surely if people can vote they can notice the paper folded particularly as all parties are in alphabetical order and if you are intending to vote UKIP surely you'd scan to the bottom of the paper and at the very least say something to the presiding officers if you think a name is missing. Admittedly it's perhaps not easy if the polling staion is crowded to conduct a confidentail conversation - but still !!

Anonymous said...

This is pathetic. My ballot paper was folded; I had the wit to appreciate that I had to unfold it to see the full list of candidates. If people can't work that out then, as others had said, they don't deserve to vote!

UKIP are simply either trailing a potential excuse for underperfoming once the results are in or making noise to remind voters that they exist.

Botogol said...

These things make a difference.
My paper was folded over and over before they gave it to me.

Why one earth do parties like Labour push themselves needlessly down the paper by having a 'THE' ?

Rob Findlay said...

Guido reporting that Labour are resorting to illegally using automated calls.

http://order-order.com/2009/06/04/election-day-shenanigans

I wonder if the court order will arrive in time?

Stepney said...

If you can't work out how to open a ballot paper then you're too stupid to vote.

Paul said...

All highly amusing comments about how thick UKIP voters must be. However, if you haven't seen the way the papers were folded you won't understand the problem. I wasn't voting for UKIP, and as I picked up the voting paper after placing my vote elsewhere suddenly it unfolded some more to reveal the UKIP box. It's bad practice to fold papers that way - pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

My paper was also folder neatly about an inch from the bottom. I mentioned it to the polling officer who also had not noticed the fold when he tore it off from the pad.

no longer anonymous said...

If you're too stupid to unfold the ballot paper you don't deserve a vote.

IanVisits said...

In related news, UKIP announces plans to change its name to ASIP (Anglo-Saxon Independence Party) to avoid ballot folding failure next time.

Anonymous said...

Legal challeneg for a folded ballot paper - but not a single legal challenge by UKIP against the hoard of EU regulations flooding into the country.

Curious that?

Anonymous said...

Well in London the ballot papers were folded a number of times. It was absolutely bleeding obvious that the parties went down in alphabetical order and that 'U' being at the END of the alphabet would in all likelihood be at the BOTTOM of the ballot paper.

Only a complete moron could fail to understand how the ballot papers worked and not realise that they needed to be unfolded!

Stu said...

Should the rarity of a UKIP voter reading a book happen what would they do when they reached the end of the page?

Simon said...

Dear me. And they say BNP voters are thick.

Anonymous said...

Every polling station should have a copy of the ballot paper posted on the wall close to the booths, for people to look at. And in turn, you would expect people to look at those.

Conversely when election guidelines specify every aspect of a ballot paper down to the last millimeter to ensure no party is favoured, something like folding could be grounds for a challenge.

microdave said...

My paper was folded in half as I watched, so no problem. But there was also a complete list of all the candidates pinned up on the notice board by the entrance....

karltop said...

Went down to vote this morning in Blackburn, and queued behind four elderly asian (most likely Labour) voters. They each had their polling cards ready, but were told by the guy on the desk that someone had already voted by postal vote, on their behalves. They left looking bemused to say the least. Ahh, Jack's friends!

Anonymous said...

So they're saying that UKIP voters don't realise UKIP begins with a "U"?

SHB said...

Looks like Brown might have to vote Conservative if they have folded his above where the Labour Party is.

Mark M said...

Hmm, the party I want to vote for isn't on my ballot paper. That's also odd, the paper is a bit thicker than usual. Oh well, guess I'd best vote for one of these other parties.

It does rather demonstrate the challenges of planning to mitigate stupidity.

Means Test ACA said...

Poor old WAID. Obviously they'd have got 3,000,000 votes in the South West had it not been for the folding thing.

Anonymous said...

As they used to say "Half a mind to Vote Tory that's all it takes" - seems like UKIP work on an even lower threshold.

Triffid said...

Perhaps they good change their name to "Aardvarks and UKIP" ?

Problem solved.

Magic_2010 said...

"Hundreds of people have complained that they were not able to vote for the party."

Are you frigging kidding me? This is the dumbest thing I've ever read. Is paper a new invention to these people?! Muppets.

Thats News said...

Ballot paper fold-up blunder. Hat tip to Guido and Iain

Hat tips all round!

Ruth@VS said...

My ballot paper was unfolded, but some origami was needed plus "jiggling" to get it into the box!

I really don't see how hard it is to unfold a piece of paper though...

Anonymous said...

No wonder the country is in a mess,if they can't be bothered reading notices before they enter the polling station,one of them explaining how the voting paper is set out.

Old Hack said...

Let's face it, the only reason that UKIP has any sort of chance in these elections is because they are being run under PR.
PR also attracts other minor parties. Hence it is PR that causes ballot folding.
So its a bit rich UKIP moaning about a system that has done them big favours!
What comes round goes round!!

Brett Trevalyan said...

Hmmmm. Well, I'm not a UKIP voter (in fact, I recently joined the Conservative Party) but I have just spent the morning taking voter numbers at Charnock Richard.

A lot of comments above tend to the view that if you can't unfold a ballot paper, then tough. However, when you see the variety of voters arriving to cast their votes, it's clear that some of them need extra care and guidance (one lady left WITH her ballot paper this morning - I had to send her back in! She said something about it being her copy....oh dear).

The truth is then that everyone deserves a fair ability to vote and anything that happens to disadvantage a party will have an affect. When you see the voters arriving over a period of time - that much is obvious. Some are old and infirm. Some are not very, er, bright. Some are ill. Etc.

My conclusion is that any party which is any way disadvantaged, albeit inadvertently, has every right to be cross.

dr. mad said...

maybe if they were folded then super-glued id phone a lawyer

owenblacker said...

I am struggling not to find this quite funny.

But it always astonishes me that there's never any usability assessment done on ballot papers. I work in digital marketing and we'd never dream of designing something without our user experience guys advising us on how to do so to make it simplest for the users (in our case, they're the end customers, after all).

It can't be that difficult to organise. Hell, it wouldn't even be expensive!

Anonymous said...

Break out the tin-foil hats, everyone!

NOT a paranoid Ukipper, honest said...

Anon 12.36's point is important. Why have the ballot papers been pre-folded, a short distance from the bottom? On whose instructions? This is more than simple cock-up.

HN Griffin said...

Who wants UKIP to win anyway

Anonymous said...

Presumably they are all folded in exactly the same way in to make life easier for the poor people who have to (a) unfold and then (b) count them all.

And I have to agree with pretty much everyone else on here - if you are too thick to unfold a piece of paper then maybe you shouldn't be voting.

Scary Mary said...

My postal voting form was also folded so that UKIP and some nutter indies were obscured. I smiled a wry smile.

Dave B said...

How stupid do you have to be to not open the whole ballot paper and look for the party you want to vote for - seriously.

Stephen said...

Just come back from voting and the polling station, Darland Avenue, Gillingham, is getting very worried about the turnout!!

It seems that with the lon ballot papers and the higher than expected turnout the ballot box is become full - had trouble pushing my paper all the way in - they have sent someone to investigate the possibility of getting another box to use!

Nigel Allery said...

.

The returning officers are folding them so that you can easily put them in the box.

So after watching the guy fold it, I unfolded it, read all candidates, entered my cross, folded and put in the box. How hard is that?

Call me Ishmael said...

Well this display of dismissive sneering certainly lives up to the idea that tories are arrogant condescending cunts.

Paul Canning said...

Sigh.

It's to speed up getting the ballots into the boxes. Practically had to force mine in and if not pre-folded I could easily have ended up ripping it.

Ballot boxes are - obviously - tightly sealed.

Talk about storm in a bloody teacup ...

Anonymous said...

The fact is that a lot of voters will be making impulse decisions as they walk into the booths today, particularly given the shenanigans of the past week. If UKIP aren't immediately visible on the ballot paper, then it's quite likely they will receive far fewer of these impulse votes.

Magic_2010 said...

I'm still gobsmacked. How have they managed to get to the voting age with such low IQs? Forget anything taxing. How would they manage to put up a flat pack from Ikea? Get to page one and then ring up and complain?

Seriously, any legal challenges by UKIP would be a mistake.

richard Willis said...

next telephone bill i get im gonna not pay it based upon the fact that it is folded in half and i didn't see teh 'bill' bit. if BT get uppity about it, i'll 'mount a legal challenge'. i reckon i've got a strong case.

someone give me a whiskey!

Anonymous said...

What is the matter with people today -have they forgotten to use their brain?

In our Polling Station a paper was pinned up inside and out telling you exactly what to do.

Do these people sign forms without reading them all the way through?
Have they not the intelligence to compare it with the specimen paper if they can't find their party?

Heavens preserve this country if it has got to this state. Why the hell did my father give six years of his life to fight fascists and preserve freedom when the population has evolved into robots who cannot even unfold a paper without instructions!

Still its done one thing -Here is one family that will never vote UKIP God knows what sort of people would be put in power!

allotment5andahalf said...

17 parties in the SW. Ballots not folded. In fact, voting staff in our council specifically instructed not to fold.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that I imagine a lot of peole today will be impulse voting, particularly given the shenanigans of the past week. So if UKIP aren't immediately visible on the ballot paper, they are surely less likely to be on the receiving end of such impulses!

Stupid or not, the papers should be made as accessible as possible, as the direct marketing person says above.

varka said...

Blood and sand - if the paper had been folded towards you/upwards, it would show the back of the paper - blank. Would people then not be voting because the were "given a blank piece of paper".

I am gonna vote a bit later today - does anyone know if

a) there are any instructions re. the use of a "pencil" (that is, I believe, the technical term for the device provided).

b) if a full risk assessment has been carried out re. paper cuts, poking oneself in the eye with the "pencil", or tangling the string around your neck and choking, getting your fingers stuck in the ballot slot ........

AProlefrom1984 said...

Surely, you've decided what party to vote for before you show up. So glance through the entire ballot paper till you see your desired party. Plus you'll look for any written instructions, etc. This is a non complaint. I'm more worried about not being able to vote at weekends. There's too much going on during a week day while we're expected to vote. Plus some schools are shut so we have to arrange childcare or take a day off we can ill afford. Is there any reason we can't vote on Sundays?

Phil said...

Just shows how stupid UKIP voters are then!

Anonymous said...

Save your breath girls and await resuts.Then the big boys really will have something to worry about.

tapestry said...

Common Purpose instructions from head office to its election-rigging automatons -

Please fold election papers so that UKIP is not visible. As most UKIP voters are past the eyeglass years, this could reduce their vote by as much as 10%. Thereby the government might come third in the election and not fourth.

If this ploy is unsuccessful, be sure to open the ballot boxes overnight and remove enough UKIP votes from each that Labour are left running second or third.

If any member of Common PUrpose refuses to carry out their instructions, or lets it slip what our game is, their Civil Service Pension will be axed immeidately.

The EU is great. Long Live The EU

Victor, NW Kent said...

I suppose we are going to have a couple of weeks of courts deciding about chavs.

I also found the EU ballot paper confusing - I read it from the end upwards and had to go through 18 inches of names before getting to Conservatives - unfair.

Oxbridge Prat said...

My paper came from a pad which was prefolded so as to obscure the bottom parties. The tellers were refolding the papers as they issued them with a more sensible folding pattern.

DespairingLiberal said...

Seriously, reading the comments, I do think UKIP have a point.

* Many voters are old and infirm rather than "stupid". It's a well established principle in election monitoring globally that papers need to be simple and obvious.

* Where did the instruction to fold them that way originate? Clearly it's something being done nationally rather than just within one local authority or region.

* Sinister inferences are obvious. There have already been dire warnings about the possible conduct of NuLab in future elections - are we seeing the first practical manifestation of this? If so, expect further tampering with the process as we approach the General.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious...

Anonymous said...

In Dartford, there are big signs saying "Don't Vote for UKIP in the Polling Boots" and all the Ballot papers only have 14 Names on them > UKIPs details have been cut off the bottom.

............... OK, so back to reality, the UKIP bubble has burst, they are not going to do very well and the excuses are being lined up.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the ballot boxes are too small. At my polling station (in London) the clerk was already (at 11:00 am) having to stuff the ballot papers into the box with a ruler. I predict riots.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear its going to be one of those days.

Cleethorpes Rock said...

Who's UKIP's agent, Neil Warnock?

JBW said...

Just been to vote (1400hrs) and the staff say that it has been steady but very quiet. Lower that they expected so far. (A small village in Sussex).

They also said that they have had urgent phone calls from HQ to tell them not to fold the papers.

I didn't see any example papers obviously pinned on the voting booths.

Anonymous said...

Brave men died in the mud clutching handfuls of their own guts in order that we could vote and people are prepared to complain that a folded ballot paper is an obstacle to democracy. How infantile have we become? This is like grown men complaining that their food hasn't been cut up for them.

JBW said...

Of course it goes without saying that postal votes have to be folded to get them in the envelope.

Thats News said...

I really don't see how hard it is to unfold a piece of paper though...
June 04, 2009 1:00 from Ruth


Ruth, people who have developed severe arthritis, rheumatism, Parkinson's, age-related sight problems, Renauld's syndrome, and the like, or who only have one hand, could tell you how hard it is to unfold a piece of paper.

And this goes for everyone else who has made such smart, flippant comments. It must be great, being as bright, witty clever and as healthy as you all are.

Please spare a thought for those individuals who aren't.

Anonymous said...

In deepest darkest Devon our papers were unfolded, Euro paper was about 2ft long, council paper was tiny, only 5 candidates.

Anonymous said...

Voted early this morning and my euro ballot paper was folded with very sharp creases horizontally. If I'd been looking for UKIP then obviously I'd have found them, so the excuse is a bit thin, but it is still poor practice.

Previously I alwasy remember them being folded vertically.

Also, the corner was slightly ripped when it came off the pad - no doubt some socialist at the count will look at my non-Labour vote and decide that that counts as spoiled.

Shamik said...

The heart bleeds!

Are UKIP supporters so thick that they're unable to work out how to unfold their ballot papers?!

Clearly they are, otherwise they wouldn't be voting for that deranged bunch of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" in the first place!

Screw UKIP! Screw the BNP!

Carl Gardner said...

Of course people who have arthritis etc. should be helped to unfold the paper. I imagine they only have to ask.

But it's not sneering to say that voting is very easy. At my polling station there's a big copy of the ballot paper put up outside, so you can see exactly what it looks like before you get it. I tend to agree with those who say it's pretty hopeless if people don't realise the paper needs to be unfolded.Though I suppose Owen Blacker is right, these things should be tested first.

I was worried about the size of the ballot box, though. Presumably they'll be replaced regularly, but I had to press hard to get mine fully in (the pre-folding did help), even attracting the suspicious eye of one of the clerks as I shoved down hard on the box.

Anonymous said...

I always voted Conservative, but for the last few years have felt appalled by Scottish rule and the Tory support for it. Dave Cameron's speech in Scotland was the final nail in the coffin.
I was therefore going to vote UKIP, but saw the advert for the English Democrats. I was so impressed. They said everything I knew was happening, but were the only Party not being silent on the issue. I am going to vote in 10 minutes time and will be voting English Democrats. I will never vote for the 3 main parties ever again. I've got a proper choice now.

Dr Feelgood said...

This “folded paper means we’ll lose votes” claim from UKIP is crazy.

I’ve just voted and was handed a lengthy and pre-folded Euro voting slip. The weight and poorish quality of the paper meant the fold wasn’t tight and it naturally unfolded to reveal the entire list easily. There was no way an even vaguely competent person could miss finding UKIP down the bottom.

Next time, UKIPers why not think about calling yourselves something more sensible, or how about doing what my local taxi firm does and call yourselves aaa111 UKIP, then you’ll be nearer the top!

Anonymous said...

LOL at Malc, who says the Scots know how to run elections. We all saw the major cock up of the last ones in Scotland. Voting papers were even shown in America, where the audiences were laughing their socks off and calling the Scots thick. Typical you'd think you were some special species. You are, but not in the way you believe.

Think twice Malc, before you brag about being able to fold a piece of paper. Its what's actually on the paper that counts.

Anonymous said...

I had no problem at all, just voted for the party at the top of the list. Did I do right?

Disco Biscuit said...

If they're too thick to unfold them, they're too thick to be allowed to vote.

Alternatively, if UKIP wanted to come top of the ballot paper then they should have thought about changing their name to something beginning with "A".

Disco Biscuit said...

How the f*!? did they manage to read the manifestos then?

oh...

Paul from Palm Beach County said...

My ballot was folded, so I got confused and ended up voting for Pat Buchanan.

James said...

Seriously, it is worrying - apart from anything else, I was under the impression the order rotated (so one ballot paper would go ABCD, then DABC, CDAB etc) so each party is equally likely to appear in any position. If the Aardvark party is always shown at the top of every paper, that is unfair - and in a constituency like mine, where something like a 0.3% swing to the Conservatives will put a different MP in Westminster, that should be compensated for as far as possible.

The apparent policy decision in some area to fold papers in order to obscure one particular party is also very concerning. Of course, UKIP has the solution: never hold another EU election (or anything else EU-related) here again...

acadman said...

As a right-winger myself, I have to say that some of the sneering comments here show the depressing lack of imagination common to many right-wing leaning people: namely an inability to understand that not everyone has talent and health.

You must also bear in mind that we do have an ageing population, and that the old vote in disproportionate numbers to the young because they still see it as a civic duty.

You must also remember that for most of their lives, ballot papers had the names of perhaps only 3 parties upon them, so folding a paper over could cause some confusion.

Whether or not it affects UKIP, the fact that some elderly or infirm people who may have struggled to even get to the polling station are further inconvenienced is not, I am afraid, very funny. I remember my my terminally ill and wheel-chair bound mother being determined to vote in the last GE and taking her the polling station. There was something very touching about the fact she still wanted to contribute to society in a small way when she was so near the end of her own life. Something like a folded ballot paper that is a very small matter for the rest of us like this would have been a big deal for her.

Yes, of course this will only affect a small number of people, but every vote deserves respect. Also, with so much emphasise being placed on whether Labour comes fourth or not behind UKIP a small number of misplaced votes may have momentous consequences given how close UKIP, the LibDems and Labour appear to be.

Those who have been laughing so much on these blog page should examine their consciences a little.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is an attempt by UKIP to get themselves on the news despite the rules supposedly (I know there's another discussion) preventing mentioning parties on election day? No one should be hearing from a UKIP press officer today!

Roger Thornhill said...

If the folding was irrational and only obscured UKIP, there might be some common thread or purpose behind it.

Fabians. Like cockroaches, but without their personality, table manners and moral compass.

Anonymous said...

Guys, don't slag off the UKIP voters too much. Who do you think they're going to vote for in a General Election - not UKIP. That's why we will get 40% in the GE and 25% in these Euro Elections. The 15% are our old fashioned right wing.

Anonymous said...

My pencil only worked at one end. I found that confusing but had the gumption to ask for help. Honestly, are these people the new Chads and Chadettes?

Anonymous said...

My local polling station was also performing origami with the ballot papers before handing them out. Personally I believe that the paper should have been handed out flat with absolutely nothing done in any way to influence the vote. Comments about the hard of seeing are well placed. At least no one seems to have bleated that the parties should have been listed randomly so that BNP weren't first on the list!

Gregg said...

This is ridiculous.

I had a postal vote and the ballot paper, about 2ft long, was folded several times to go in the envelope.

Perhaps the ability to unfold paper should be a requirement to qualify for the vote. If you can't you're too thick!

Anonymous said...

At my polling station they folded the paper into four, then unfolded it, which they said was to make it easier to fold.

The staff said that even after doing this, some voters had problems folding up ballot paper up enough to fit in the box. Presumably, if they hadn't pre-folded it, those voters would have been completely stumped.

Some of those voters are idiots, of course, but others are simply clumsy, perhaps because of age. Either way, they're still entitled to a vote.

However, while they should be helped, it shouldn't be in a way that disadvantages any particular party.

percy_eddler said...

Can we assume from this that UKIP voters only read the front and back pages of a newspaper?

That might explain a lot.

Anonymous said...

Are people really so stupid that they can't unfold a ballot paper properly?

Alix said...

Mine was folded too (in posh Tory Surrey), according to the clerks because it was so long.

Natural selection in action, that is.

Anonymous said...

Jesus wept! Are UKIP really considering a legal challenge on the basis that some people aren't unfolding their ballot paper?! Comedy.

Duncan said...

it's been said but if you can't figure out how to unfold a ballot paper then you almost don't deserve to vote. Mine was folded. I unfolded it. The UKIP box was clearly visible. I voted Green....

DespairingLiberal said...

From the BBC today....

++++++++++++++++++
One man from York told the BBC he had been "absolutely shocked" that he could not find the party he wanted to vote for on the ballot paper and had to ask officials where it was.

"They explained you have to unfold it again, right at the very bottom there was another very neat fold that you could not see, folded backwards," he said.
+++++++++++++++++++++++

So it isn't a clear fold. It's a hidden fold.

Note that many elderly people struggle with folded papers as well.

Anonymous said...

Just voted - Hampshire - ballot paper handed to me unfolded, exactly as it came off the pad.

From what I could see there was no reason for them to be folded, or even pre-folded as is being suggested.

Mentioned what's been happening to the returning officer who said there was no need to fold them, and they had received no instructions to do so.

Huge, new, box for ballot papers. Did notice an "official" plastic ruler nearby to help push them down. The box was nearly full, I assume they have others.

Asked about separate boxes for local and European, they had discussed it and decided it could cause confusion.

Anonymous said...

"I was under the impression the order rotated (so one ballot paper would go ABCD, then DABC, CDAB etc) so each party is equally likely to appear in any position."

And for some years I was under the impression that my Yuletide presents were delivered by Father Christmas.

Honestlym get a life.

Anonymous said...

I was in shock when I received a completely blank ballot paper... I went back to the woman to complain that I couldn't vote for UKIP, she explained to me that it was folded in half and that I was retarded.

I told her that's impossible because I voted to have all the retards euthanized.

Angela said...

A folded ballot paper doesn't seem to be any great challenge, but having said that I didn't have to deal with one. It was handed to me in all its pristine, lengthy, glory!

I did wonder how they were all going to fit in the ballot box. I voted at nine o'clock, and it was already pretty full. (Elstead, Surrey)

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

I beat anonymous from Devon at 2.25: 17 parties on an A3 sheet for Europe - Mebyon Kernow, Christians, Labour, Tories, Liberals, BNP, Libertas, UKIP, various others. Had to be folded into about 12. Unfolding it wasn't simple, and I had to have a couple of goes - I am 26 and have three university degrees, so it isn't only the old and thick.

Precisely three candidates for the County Council Elections! One Indie (who got my vote) one Tory, one Loser (sorry, Labour). It wasn't even folded. All I had to do was cross the box, fold it over and post it through the slot.

You gotta love the stupidity of the PR system - and to think that there are those who want it at Westminster! No wonder there is talk of legal challenges.

PS I am not a UKIPper and I despise them. I voted Libertas.

Anonymous said...

my ballot paper was folded in such a way that all i could see was UK so naturally i put my X next to it. seemed like the right thing to do

David Lindsay said...

Interesting that you mention the West Country, The Half-Blood Welshman. On Saturday, just for once, Beyond Westminster did what it says on the tin.

Elinor Goodman reported on the European Election in the West Country. A No2EU candidate was interviewed, and didn't mention refusing to take seats, only staying off the gravy train and concentrating on campaigning. Both better done by taking the seats. Though giving away much of the salary.

Which brings us to the Pensioners' Party candidate, who wanted MEPs to give much of their salaries to Help The Aged, Age Concern and the Alzheimer's Society. Right principle, at least.

The Fair Pay Fair Trade candidate wanted all imports to be thus certified, as much as anything else to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing. He also wanted free rail transport. Excellent. But his big mistake was to want these things at impossible EU level, rather than at perfectly possible national level.

The Cornish Nationalist wasn't really a Nationalist at all, just as Plaid Cymru, much of the SDLP, Alex Salmond, and I keep being told the rising generation of the SNP at large are not really Nationalists at all. Like them, he just wanted a better deal, as he saw it, for his patch. Certainly, Cornwall is at the very sharp end of the completely ignored problems of rural poverty and lack of amenities. And the fact that no major party candidate lives in Cornwall, while it is possible not be elected despite having picked up every vote there, certainly struck a chord with all of us who believe in the national and the local, but certainly not the "regional" if it can be at all avoided.

And Katie Hopkins, an Independent, should thank her lucky stars that she got out of The Apprentice. Now she can campaign for the glorious causes of farmers, fishermen, small business, the Armed Forces and their families. Proper conservative causes. And thus as far as is imaginable from the agenda of global capital.

A bit of proper coverage and who knows what might have happened?

Still, the times are changing.

Rob said...

The paper was folded in four at my polling station, but it was quite obvious, and even if it hadn't been the clerk handing it to me unfolded it.

VotR said...

The Labour Government (not party) are cowards and bullies. Standing up to bullies is an only option at times, I hope all parties on the ballet paper do something and speak out against poor sportmanship if dirty tricks are being employed.

What a dirty, scumbag government we have.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be rude but is this an admission that UKIP voters don't know how to turn over a piece of paper?

lol

archroy said...

One of the reasons the ballot papers are so long is because every candidate's name is given for every party. As we are only able to vote for a party, what is the point? If people are really interested in the names on the party lists, they could be pasted up in the polling booths.

msj said...

Silly fools. Serves them right for having such a stupid name.

Anonymous said...

As usual with this (and other blogs)lots of jumping to lots of conclusions allied to a big element of "Oh Goody - here's my chance to be witty and call everybody else in the world - especially if I don't agree with them - stupid"

The problem with a proportion of the ballot papers as I understand it, is that some LA's had them printed by an Irish company (no sniggering at the back there) and they have been machine folded which produces an entirely different handle and appearance to your kindly polling station attendant doing a loose manual fold before your very eyes, as mine did.

Word Verification REDIS how appropriate to the current troughing!

AProlefrom1984 said...

Just voted. paper was folded when handed to me, but once you hold it, it falls open. All parties and independents visible. And there's a sample ballot paper on the wall so you can see all parties and candidates standing.
Shake the ballot paper a little bit and you'll see all info on it.

Anonymous said...

In the north east Labour and UKIP were the bottom two (didn't look at the rest), so I presume not in alphabetical order.

Libertas UK said...

There is an update on this here:
http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/local-european-election-results-zone/62711-update-folded-ballot-paper-problems.html

It actually looks quite serious.

Anonymous said...

It's 'The Labour Party' not 'Labour Party' hence being so low down the list!

Adrian said...

This policy is clearly still in place in Birmingham. Went to vote at 7 pm and the guy wasted 30 seconds folding my ballot paper before he gave it to me. Pointless and stupid if, as people say, some voters have failed to unfurl the damn thing properly in the booth.

Banksy said...

They fold it in a way that means it goes into the ballot box easily. but also, your actual cross is concealed.

It is, after all, a secret ballot. The bloggerati who wear their votes on their sleeves sometimes forget that some people prefer not to advertise their political allegiances and the folding of ballot papers respects this - as well as the memory of the people who fought and died for our right to a secret vote.

Anonymous said...

Also from Scotland - one simple vertical fold and it slid into the ballot box like spotty youth into a fat slapper

David Gerard said...

Where we voted (St Mary's School, Walthamstow, E17), the officials told us the paper was folded, and that there were 19 candidates. Just a data point, fwiw.

I find UKIP's problem here deeply, deeply hilarious.

Jonathan said...

I think it would be a mistake for UKIP to try and force a re-election. The public don't like to be messed around, as can be seen from the Winchester situation in 1997 when a majority of 2 became over 21,000 in the by-election. See here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_by-election,_1997

Anonymous said...

I'M SO HAPPY SO MANY TORY VOTERS HAVE THEIR HEADS STUCK SO FAR UP THEIR OWN ARSES THAT THEY CANT SEE WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD. AND THEY WONDER WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE VOTING FOR FRINGE PARTIES

Anonymous said...

The ballot paper is much bigger than usual. If the bottom half has been folded backwards then people may not think to unfold it all and just assume that there is no UKIP candidate.
I had to actively look for a list of candidates on the internet before I went to vote as I had not seen a list beforehand.
Anybody just popping in to vote after work may not have realised how long the list was.
If it can be shown that people did not vote for certain parties because of this then the election should be redone.
For the next elections UKIP could rename itself to GBIP to stand more chance (or perhaps AAAAUKIP)

tapestry said...

AAAUKIP?


That's easy. Common Purpose will change the sytem to reverse alphabetical.

As for tampering with ballot boxes overnight, anything could be happening. They create an obvious fault in the open for all to complain about, but the real game is going on out of sight.

As Jo Stalin said, it's not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

not an economist said...

What do these people do when they get their morning paper posted thru their letter box, presumably folded twice by the paper-boy so as to get it thru the letterbox? Do they phone News International etc..., and complain that they were unable to find the rest of the paper ....????

Anonymous said...

I dont consider myself to be stupid, but was handed an UNFOLDED, paper without UKIP on it, as I was comtemplating voting other parties, I thought it odd they were missing but didnt investiagte further,let's face it the paper was over a foot long as it was!
I do think it seems rather 'convenient' that they were folded this way!!!

Bambi14 said...

I am outraged that people are saying that thick people only vote for UKIP, they are low and stupid comments, everyone is entitled to their own private vote and its nobodies business to judge people, I experienced the same problem as a lot of other people. I looked down the list to get UKIP and it wasn't there. I didn't think to unfold it as it didn't look like it need to be unfolded and its all done so secretly and scarily. The lady handed me the form and I watched her unfold it so why would I doubt that it had not been unfolded!!!
I really want UKIP to win as I think they stand for everything Labour and Conservatives don't, its about time someone with sense took over!!!!

ukipwebmaster said...

Just an update on this for all the CCHQ trolls. The ballot papers were machine folded very tightly and the bottom fold was almost stuck down. From the picture on the following page you will see that this was deliberate and not by chance:

http://www.westbournemouthukip.com/main.htm

Bambi14 said...

I am outraged that people are saying that thick people only vote for UKIP, they are low and stupid comments, everyone is entitled to their own private vote and its nobodies business to judge people, I experienced the same problem as a lot of other people. I looked down the list to get UKIP and it wasn't there. I didn't think to unfold it as it didn't look like it need to be unfolded and its all done so secretly and scarily. I was made to feel like I had to know what I was doing, yes I have voted before but I am still pretty new to it and I trust the officials at the polling stations!
The lady handed me the form and I watched her unfold it so why would I doubt that it had not been unfolded!!!

I really want UKIP to win as I think they stand for everything Labour and Conservatives don't, its about time someone with sense took over!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bugger me - UKIP need a new press officer if this is the best 'scandal' they can come up with.