Polling cards issued to some ineligible South London voters – but hope is it won’t matter

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

Almost half of all London councils used faulty software that sent General Election polling cards to ineligible voters by mistake, an investigation has found.

Some 16 local authorities said they used Civica’s Xpress management software and some councils – including Croydon, Lambeth and Wandsworth – have confirmed polling cards were mistakenly sent to ineligible voters.

But the erroneous cards will not tally with the polling station registration lists, making it unlikely that anyone unable to vote will be able to do so.

In total, 28 people are thought to have been mistakenly issued with voting cards, although most were from the north London borough of Enfield.

All have been notified of the error and will not be able to vote in the General Election on July 4.

Other local authorities have said they were either made aware of the glitch before polling cards were sent out or had processes in place to avoid the situation.

‘Product Recall’ notice issued to one resident in Staines (Picture: LDRS)

Civica, a software company providing services to 5,000 public bodies globally, according to its website, said an issue with some European electors’ poll cards had been identified and has since been rectified.

Croydon council said: “A total of 19 electors in our constituencies were impacted by the software error. We have contacted all the affected electors and advised that they will not be able to vote in the general election.”

According to the senior election official, the software examines local election registers to determine who can vote and sends them polling cards and is believed to be used by between 60 and 70per cent of councils in England and Wales.

The official said the glitch affected European residents who registered to vote between May 7 and May 20 and had arrived in the UK before 2021.

They said this group of voters was eligible to vote in local elections but not in a general election. The senior official said Civica informed local authorities using the software of the glitch and compiled lists of residents it believed were ineligible to vote but received a polling card. The source claims councils were then tasked with informing residents of the mix-up.

The election specialist said the software registered which country residents came from but not whether they were EU citizens and therefore listed them as eligible to vote. Under current election laws, EU nationals who do not hold either British and Commonwealth citizenship cannot vote in a general election.

Civica’s website said the programme is “trusted” by 70per cent of local authorities in England and Wales. A brochure on its website said the company’s Mobile Canvasser App is used by more than 80 authorities.

A Civica spokesman said: “An issue with some European electors’ poll cards was identified, and an update to the system was issued, and therefore resolved. The Xpress register at the polling station will only contain eligible electors for these Parliamentary elections.”

Picture top: Wikimedia Commons/secretlondon123)




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