Democracy Volunteers deployed 40 observers across all the mayoral elections on 5th May 2022. They were:
- Croydon 6 Observers
- Hackney 4 Observers
- Lewisham 6 Observers
- Newham 6 Observers
- South Yorkshire 4 Observers
- Tower Hamlets 10 Observers
- Watford 4 Observers
These observers formed teams of two and attended 390 polling places. These observers spent between 30 minutes and 60 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.
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 28% of all the polling stations and in each area in the following percentage of polling stations:
- Croydon 35% of 63 ballot boxes
- Hackney 26% of 50 ballot boxes
- Lewisham 35% of 57 ballot boxes
- Newham 36% of 50 ballot boxes
- South Yorkshire 13% of 24 ballot boxes
- Tower Hamlets 32% of 96 ballot boxes
- Watford 14% of 42 ballot boxes
As can be seen, ‘family voting’ is a widespread activity across different parts of London and other parts of England as well.
Democracy Volunteers is a non-partisan, domestic election observation organisation, committed to improving the security and accessibility of elections in the UK and abroad. Our mission is to improve the quality of democratic elections, by advising those who legislate for, administer, and oversee elections, to enhance them for the benefit of voters.
We aim to do this by attending elections and empirically reporting our findings in an accessible way through statistical analysis and the undertaking of interlocutor meetings to support this objective. We do this through a strong methodology, based on the international standards for election observation as set out by OSCE/ODIHR and others. We are a member of the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM) and abide by GNDEM’s Declaration of Global Principles for Non-partisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organisations and the accompanying Code of Conduct.
We maintain strict impartiality and require our observers to abide by UK and international standards, as well as the relevant local legal framework, when acting as our observers. All of our observers, who observe in the UK, are officially accredited with the UK’s Electoral Commission and undergo a thorough interview and training process to ensure they are able to accurately and impartially record and report data from polling stations and counting venues. None of our observers are members of political parties and are not politically active.
We aim to report on our observations in a constructive and encouraging way to benefit the delivery of democracy and to benefit the electorate, as a whole. Since we were formed in 2016, we have observed dozens of elections across the UK and internationally, including General Elections, referenda, by-elections, council elections and devolved parliamentary/assembly elections. Our reports have been used as the basis for trials of various methodologies and equipment at various elections and our data is regularly cited in The Houses of Parliament and used in debates nationally, as well as informing local council training for election officials, whilst informing the public on the conduct of electoral events.
Democracy Volunteers observers deployed for the observations during the English Mayoral Elections with the support of a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd. This was arranged by Democracy Volunteers, and this funding covered travel expenses, some accommodation, and subsistence for our volunteer observers.