1. To objectively observe the election process in the various UK Westminster parliamentary by-election contests. 
  2. To advise election officials on the results of the observation for the improvement of electoral practice.
  3. To support these election bodies with constructive feedback on areas of concern so that they may consider remedial action.

Executive Summary

Observers formed teams of two and attended 76 polling places. These observers spent between 30 minutes and 45 minutes at each polling venue observing the process and then completed one or more surveys for each polling station, dependant on the number of ballot boxes.

In 2022, Democracy Volunteers decided on a new policy to observe parliamentary by-elections and report on them annually. This was decided as the results from one by-election can be limited. The by-elections in 2022 were: Southend West (Did not Observe), Birmingham Erdington (Did not Observe), Wakefield (Did not Observe), Tiverton & Honiton (Did not Observe), City of Chester (6 Observers), Stretford and Urmston (4 Observers)

Our team of observers saw several challenges to the electoral process, once again these focused around the challenge of family voting, where more than one person attempts to vote together in a polling booth. Our team saw family voting in 20% of all the polling stations and in each area in the following percentage of polling stations:

  • City of Chester            18% of 33 ballot boxes
  • Stretford & Urmston   21% of 43 ballot boxes

As can be seen ‘family voting’ is a persistent challenge that Democracy Volunteers see whenever we observe. As well as reading the report you can listen to John Ault and Harry Busz talking to Juliana and Tom on the Election Observer podcast. You can also download the report below.

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