Monday, September 20, 2010

Wyre Forest 2010 District Election spoiled ballots

Whenever I've found a spare 5 minutes I've been plugging the results of our latest district election into a database so I can run comparisons etc. I've got the 2010 results and the 2006 results side-by-side and I thought "Hmm that's a lot of spoiled ballots there. I wonder why no-one has said anything?"

I checked my original source from Wyre Forest and saw that although all the candidates votes were shown as were the electorate totals, turnout and percentage turnout; the actual number of spoiled papers was missing. Now logically if the vote totals 3,542 and the number of ballot papers issued was 3,569 then the difference of 27 should be what I'm looking for. Yet the numbers seemed high.

Another check and the turnout percentages between 2006 and 2010 were almost double in most cases so that should increase the number of spoilt ballots; how to check though? I ran a simple sweep compare turnout percentages and apply to the 2006 results to predict 2010 results. Easy enough, but I realised that only really works if the electorate figures remain static. In other words if in 2006 I had a electorate of 1000 and a turnout of 500 with 10 spoilt and then in 2010 the electorate doubled as did the turnout the percentage would remain the same as would the number of spoilt predicted.

So I ran the figures using the Turnout numbers themselves.

The results - The first column is the ward, the second the number of spoiled ballots in 2006, the third the electorate percentage prediction, the fourth the turnout prediction and the fifth the actual 2010 number as calculated by the difference in turnout to votes.

Aggborough & Spennells36627
Areley Kings510928
Bewdley & Arley12212259
Blakedown & Chaddesley8131320
Habberley and Blakebrook6101012
Offmore & Comberton7121238
Oldington & Foley Park35513
Sutton Park9161731

Bloody Hell! Although there's a couple that match most are double or more of the prediction. Now that either means that the increase in electorate was met by people who didn't know how to vote or that people were purposefully spoiling their ballot papers (as I suggested several times pre-election) to show their dissatisfaction.

So why didn't the return show this, why did the 2006 return? Are there no standards that are used to show what data should be given? Anyway take a look at those figures. Not enough to influence the vote and thus trigger an enquiry, but hell.


Tav said...

At the 2010 elections we had a new Chief Executive (Ian Miller) who is also the Returning Officer. I did notice that the 2010 results were scanned handwritten documents whereas under the previous Chief Executive (and Returning Officer) has all his results where from a word processed document (albeit still in PDF). Perhaps it's Ian Miller's way not to show the spoiled ballot count?

By law all ballot papers must be kept for a set period of time (I think 5 years). I wonder if it is allowed to show the ballot papers (most interestingly spoilt ballot papers) to the public after a Freedom of Information request? Sometimes that make very interesting reading!

FlipC said...

It would be interesting to see the spoilt papers for comments.

The 2010 results aren't well-formatted especially compared to 2006 yet they're still better than the 2007 and 2008 results - here's the vote breakdown and here's the turnout; what more do you want :-P

The joke is that we're supposed to be getting more involved in local politics, decided finances and services; yet so much information just doesn't appear.