Gimbo gets to vote twice ‘cos he’s fab.

Local elections take place in much of England and all of Wales today, so it’s time to vote.

Interestingly, I’ve just realised that I’ve been given two votes this time round, which shouldn’t really happen. In other words, I occur on the electoral register twice. Naturally I won’t exploit this, but I wonder how they’ll react when I show up at the polling station and point this out to them. Will it be a big thing, or just run of the mill? I’d prefer the former; I suspect the latter.

How’s this possible? 2-3 years ago I lived at address X in Mumbles; last year I moved to address Y, also in Mumbles (I was at address Z in between, but that doesn’t feature in our story). I’ve now received, through the post, two polling cards: one for “Andy Martin Gimblett” at address X, and one for “Andrew Gimbleh” at address Y. When I moved in to address Y, I will have filled a form at some point stating that I live here, and somebody in City Hall has obviously bungled the transcription, reading TT as H somehow. Meanwhile, address X presumably lies empty (the landlords were, not to put too fine a point on it, twats) so nobody’s filled in a form telling the world I no longer live there.

The best bit is that, despite X and Y being within 500m or so of each other, they have different polling stations, so I really could vote twice. Even if they ask for ID, I’m sure I could argue convincingly that “Andrew Gimbleh”‘s vote belongs to me, particularly to people who haven’t just seen me vote using a different card. :-)

Thoughtful students of protocol will now be asking the question: Why have I received the card addressed to X? Because I used to have a forward in place, and the postman has apparently learnt my new address. There’s no official forwarding sticker on the card (or on any of my forwarded mail, even the stuff to address Z, where the forward is still in place) – the postie is just being helpful. That’s great, but in this instance is probably not the right thing to do. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that polling cards are, legally, not supposed to be forwarded — that would go some way to preventing this bug, I guess; however, there’s nothing on the card indicating this.

Security: it’s hard.

5 Responses to “Gimbo gets to vote twice ‘cos he’s fab.”

  1. May 1st, 2008 | 10:23 am

    Same has happened with me I have received a polling card at my non-student home and a polling card at my student home.

  2. James
    May 1st, 2008 | 10:25 am

    I had something similar happen to me. In my case I had a polling card arrive at my home address in sussex, and another one arrive at my Uni address. I found out later this was because the University had ‘automatically’ registered me in Swansea.

  3. May 1st, 2008 | 10:49 am

    I don’t know how it works with students either, I’ve always had the opportunity to vote both in Swansea and back in Pontypool where I am from. If I really wanted to I guess I could vote twice. *shrugs* Seems pretty bad that something so important doesn’t have more care taken about what votes get cast.

    If you ask the general public who actually cares though I doubt most of them know there’s a local election today.

  4. DaveB
    May 1st, 2008 | 11:37 am

    I was on the electoral roll 3 times at one point!

    Having a less helpful postman wouldn’t help very much either because you usually don’t need the polling card to vote. Just need to know where to go and have some ID

  5. Rob
    May 12th, 2008 | 8:34 pm

    Students are allowed to vote in local elections at both their addresses.