Number of Mid Sussex voters refused ballot papers at May’s election an ‘underestimate’

Mid Sussex polling station
Mid Sussex polling station

Figures showing 15 people in Mid Sussex were refused ballot papers during May’s elections for not having ID were ‘underestimated’, it has been claimed.

The district was one of ten chosen to pilot a voter fraud scheme which required people to show identification before being allowed to vote.

Electoral Commission figures given to the district council showed that, of the 15 who were sent off to fetch their ID, eight did not return

But, at a meeting of the full council, Anne Eves (Green, Burgess Hill – Leylands) thought the numbers were actually higher.

She said: “I think that must be an underestimate in a sense because we were telling on the day and various people asked the tellers ‘will I be able to vote without a polling card?’

“When told no, they left and did not return. So I think all these figures are an under-estimate of the problem.”

Norman Webster, cabinet member for community, said: “I can’t actually say whether that is the case or not but what we have to work with is the official figure.

“I understand people were given the option to then go and talk to an officer within the polling station and those who didn’t obviously are not recorded.”

Mr Webster also said he was unaware of any incidents of EU/non-British citizens being turned away.

Data from the Electoral Commission showed that, across the ten trial areas, a total of 1,968 people were initially refused a ballot paper, but more than half later returned to vote.

Mr Webster told the meeting that the Mid Sussex figures were by far the lowest, making up 0.03 per cent of the people who voted.

He said: “The next highest electoral area had a 0.4 percentage, so we were very significantly below the national numbers.”