European Parliament Elections 2009

Report
European Parliament Elections
2014
Mark Heath
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
1
Background
• The European Parliament Elections (EPEs) are
held every 5 years.
• Last EPEs - 4 June 2009. Next - 22nd May 2014
• Results will be announced on Sunday 25 May,
after voting has closed throughout the 28
member states at 9:00PM
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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There are 12 electoral regions in the
UK
Each has a Regional Returning Officer
(RRO)
MEPs are elected under a proportional
representation system - the d’Hondt
system
There is a regional list system with
seats allocated to parties in proportion
to their share of the vote cast in that
region.
The UK will elect 73 MEPs in 2014
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Law
• European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002
• EPE Regulations 2004 (as amended by the
European Parliamentary Elections
(Amendment) Regulations 2013) – “the
conduct regulations”
– Reg 6 – Role of LRO / RRO and conduct of poll
– Reg 7 – Power to appoint deputies
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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– Reg 9:
• Rules for conduct of election -Sched 1
• Powers of direction by RRO / duty to encourage
participation(LRO and RRO) / power to correct
clerical errors(RRO and LRO)
• Power to correct errors(see later)
• Duty to encourage participation(RRO/LRO)
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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– Reg 15 - Payments to RRO / LRO(Reg 15A –
withholding payments)
– Reg 23 + - Election offences
– Reg 67 + Schedule 8 – Use of schools and rooms
for election meetings – note role of local authority
– Sched 1 - Election Rules
– Sched 2 – Absent Voting (postals, proxies etc)
– Sched 3 – Modifications to Election Rules for
combined polls
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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The RRO and the LRO
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RRO responsibilities
Overall management across their Region;
Publishing Notice and taking Nominations;
Receiving Agent appointments;
Determining form of ballot paper;
Receiving/collating verification figures;
Receiving local results;
Calculating result;
Publishing results.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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• LRO responsibilities
Publication of Notices, as directed by RRO;
Printing ballot papers;
Dealing with postal votes, proxies, etc.;
Conduct of the Poll in local counting area;
Issue of poll cards;
Verification;
Secure storage;
Local Count;
Publication of result locally, when approved by RRO.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Combination - Key Issues
• Local elections / Council Tax referendum /
Neighbourhood Planning Referendum etc.;
• A lot more paperwork and procurement;
• Plan staffing for PV issues and return;
• Take care on combined issue for PVs;
• A much bigger task at verification;
• Different agents for Euro and local;
• Effectively two or more separate election projects
with (significant) overlaps.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Not the servant of the Board, but
‘the servant of the Act’
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Key Roles for Returning Officers
• To see that everyone who is eligible has the
opportunity to vote;
• To ensure that eligible candidates who wish to
are able to stand;
• To ensure that the choice of the electorate is
implemented; and
• To maintain the integrity of the democratic
system.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Personal requirements
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Understand the role and the function;
Know what has to be done;
Arrange resources;
Demonstrate leadership;
Plan for the unexpected (risk management);
Be decisive.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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The common factors when it has
gone wrong…
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No proper project planning;
No risk assessment and risk management;
Lack of staff training;
Ignoring the basics;
Not following the law;
Outsourcing without proper procurement and
checking procedures.
Basically –professional project management.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Key messages
• Plan and manage all stages of the process;
• Have a clear management chain and know your
role within it;
• If errors occur – don’t panic, but seize the
initiative and act decisively;
• Take legal advice where possible;
• Record carefully what happened, action taken
and why;
• Stick to the law – shield and sword;
• Remember the 4 key roles….
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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What we know…..
• Who the designated RROs are;
• Ballot paper colour (white);
• The date of election – 22nd May 2014;
• Conduct rules - European Parliamentary Elections
(Amendment) Regulations 2013;
• Indemnity, not insurance for EPEs;
– Remember to check what you have in place locally for any
other polls and check the excess
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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• Job descriptions for RRO / LRO;
• Election timetable;
• New Performance Indicators from the Electoral
Commission;
• There will be a Fees and Charges Order +
guidance shortly…..
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Candidates / Parties
• How many? Is there a printer capacity issue? If
so, what is your contingency plan?
• Free mailings –Reg 63;
• “Celebrities”;
• RRO will have Comms arrangements – LRO?
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Sweep
To sweep, or not to
sweep?
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Power to correct procedural errors
• EPE Regs 2004 - Reg 9(4A) ;
• LRO / RRO “may take such steps as s/he thinks
appropriate to remedy any act or omission on his part, or
on the part of a relevant person”;
• Relevant persons include ERO, PO, provider of goods or
services, an appointed deputy;
• Cannot cover recounting votes after declaration of
‘wrong’ result(Reg 9(4B));
• If used, check with RRO 1st (I would suggest)and keep
notes of what you did and why….
A shield – not a sword.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Also – “Don’t Panic”
• The law assumes that the RO will run the
election independently, and properly;
• On petition, the Courts will only interfere if
the election was not run substantially in
accordance with the law and the rules - AND
any breach materially affected the result (Reg
9(5)).
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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A quick word about numbers…
• The accuracy of the Count process is a key part of
getting it right;
• It starts with verification of the ballot boxes against the
ballot paper accounts;
• Verification figure is vital;
• Accuracy is vital through to the counting of votes for
each candidate or party;
• If there are material discrepancies anywhere, that will
lead to mistrust of the process, and of the result.
• If it’s not right, it’s wrong!
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Fraud: cause for concern
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Registration;
Postal Votes;
Proxies;
Undue pressure;
Bribery.
• Electoral Commission Report – January 2014 Electoral fraud in the UK
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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Fraud – what to do?
• Every force should have a single point of
contact on electoral issues;
• Know your SPOC;
• Record all details, so there is a prime record;
• Pass it to the Police.
European Parliamentary Elections 2014
Regional Returning Officer
South East Region
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