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Mystery of the lost votes: Union party claims at least 50 ballots have gone missing from Medway Council election

By Nicola Jordan

Trade unionists have pledged to “take it all the way” after one of their colleagues scored an unlikely zero vote in the Medway Council elections.

They have gathered evidence from at least 30 people who voted for Paul Dennis,a Trade union and Socialist Coalition candidate, including himself, his wife and his father.

Chas Berry, TUSC spokesman said they had contacted the Electoral Commission, the advisory board and were seeking legal advice after council chief executive Neil Davies, as returning officer said it had carried out an investigation and the matter was now closed as far as the authority was concerned.

The count at Medway Park went on until after midnight

The count at Medway Park went on until after midnight

But Mr Berry said: “We are not going to take this lying down. This is not about Paul, or the party. It is about exposing the council who have come out as the laughing stock.
“It is absolutely impossible that Paul did not get a single vote.We have been approached by people who say they they voted for him and given us details, including their ballot numbers.

"Our lowest vote was 67 and it is highly unlikely Paul would have got less than 50 - and even if you leave a margin for human error, this still does not make sense.”

Mr Berry added that while it would not changed the outcome in Mr Dennis’ ward, Rainham North, it did raise questions about how the count at Medway Park was conducted..
He also felt that staff, having just finished a shift counting at the general election were exhausted and over-worked.

People counting at Medway Park

People counting at Medway Park

TUSC has 21 days from the count on Thursday May 7 to launch a petition on the issue which could take years to resolve and prove extremely costly.

Mr Berry said: “We are a small party and don’t have the sort of money it would cost to take Medway Council to court. But this is not just about TUSC, but about basic democracy.”
Mr Davies, said: “I can confirm that having double-checked our records, the paperwork confirms a zero return for TUSC in Rainham North.

“Whilst I accept, this is unusual, now that the result has been declared, I am afraid there is nothing else we can do investigate the matter further as we are bound by the rules of election law.”

Mr Dennis,54, who lives in the ward and works as a train conductor for Southeastern.
He was said to be “gutted” by the result. He said: “It was a bit humiliating, especially at work.”

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