Democracy Volunteers deployed 8 observers across the North Shropshire constituency in today’s parliamentary by-election. They attended polling stations from 7am until the close of polls at 10pm.

In total, the observers attended 52 polling stations out of the 87. They attended for approximately 20-30 minutes observing the entire voting process.

Voting has been brisk at many polling stations and staff were prepared to welcome voters across the constituency despite the challenging health context of the election. We would congratulate the elections staff at Shropshire Council for conducting an election in such challenging and changing circumstances.

Democracy Volunteers will publish a report on the electoral process within 8 weeks. However, a number of voters, and our observers, have identified some challenging behaviour, during polling day, by party tellers outside, and sometimes inside, polling stations.

A number of voters have complained that they have been harassed by party ‘tellers’ (who are allowed to stand outside the polling station and collect polling numbers for their campaign as part of their ‘Get Out The Vote’ operation).

Commenting Dr John Ault, Director of Democracy Volunteers, said:

‘This has been a well-run election by Shropshire Council and would like to congratulate them for a well run election.

‘Whilst these might seem to be minor infringements to the parties, this caused considerable challenges in some polling stations with voters complaining they did not have easy access to the polling station.’

‘Whilst telling is an accepted aspect of UK elections we would encourage the Electoral Commission to look at how it can sometimes prevent easy access to polling stations for voters, and encourage the political parties to improve the training for their tellers ahead of future elections.’

NOTE: Democracy Volunteers’ observers observed tellers at almost two-thirds of polling stations. At 20% they were judged to be ‘not acting responsibly’ by the observer team.

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