Greens reassure election watchdog over proxy votes campaign

Posted On 27 Apr 2015 at 2:58 pm

The Green party has told the Electoral Commission it has not broken election rules after being asked to stop giving students pre-filled proxy voting forms.

The campaign to re-elect Green MP Caroline Lucas to Brighton Pavilion will be analysed via social media

The issue was first raised two weeks ago by Labour who said the forms were being given out at a campaign day on Falmer campus on April 10.

The Liberal Democrats also complained to the Electoral Commission, who said it had told the Green party to stop encouraging voters to appoint a campaigner as proxy.

However, the commission this morning updated its position, saying the Greens had denied the forms were pre-filled, and confirmed they are following the code of conduct.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: ‘Our non-statutory code of conduct says voters should not be encouraged to appoint a campaigner as a proxy to minimise the risk of suspicions that campaigners are placing undue pressure on voters.

“We have been in contact with the Green Party and they have confirmed that they are dealing with applications to appoint proxies in line with the code of conduct.”

A spokeswoman for Caroline Lucas said the party had moved to clarify the allegations of pre-filled forms and was satisfied no rules had been broken.

Adam McGibbon, the party’s target constituencies campaign manager, said: “We have been adhering completely to the Code of Practice on this issue and have been vindicated by the Electoral Commission.

“Their initial statement was based upon Labour’s allegation that we were handing out pre-filled in proxy forms. This is not the case.

“We have clarified the situation with Tom Hawthorn, Head of Policy at the Electoral Commission, who, now he is appraised of the facts, is completely satisfied that we are acting within the Code of Conduct for Campaigners.

“It’s a shame that Labour are running a hugely negative campaign in Brighton Pavilion, and part of this includes issuing complaints around Green campaigning activities.”

  1. Mark Fredrick Reply

    This is not true. I was offered a filled in form on campus. When I asked to take it away I was told that I had to sign it there as the green supporters details had been filled in. I know other people who have had this happen to as well.

    • Tracey Hill Reply

      Hi Mark, I’d be grateful if you could get in touch with me about this. Other people told us exactly what you’re saying. My blog should be posted here, twitter is @TraceyMHill and I’m on Facebook.

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