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Rainham North Medway Council election candidate Paul Dennis receives zero votes despite voting for himself

A wannabe councillor was shocked to receive zero votes in the Medway Council elections - despite voting for himself.

Paul Dennis's first reaction was to laugh, as several did when his result for Rainham North was read out at the count at Medway Park.

But Mr Dennis lives in the ward and voted for himself. So did his father and his wife and, in the days since the election, others have claimed to have done so as well.

TUSC candidate Paul Dennis received zero votes - despite voting for himself
TUSC candidate Paul Dennis received zero votes - despite voting for himself

His party, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), said the council has “serious questions to answer” following the count.

They have now pledged to “take it all the way” and have gathered evidence from at least 30 people who voted for Mr Dennis - including himself, his wife and his father.

“I was gutted to be honest,” said Mr Dennis, 45, who works as a train conductor for Southeastern. “It was a bit humiliating, especially at work.

“Since then people have come up to me and said ‘I voted for you’.

"I was gutted to be honest. It was a bit humiliating..." - Paul Dennis

“Your address is on the voting slip so people have actually come and knocked on the door to say they voted for me – about 30 people must have done that.”

TUSC spokesman Chas Berry said: “We think it’s impossible for him to get zero votes. He lives in the ward, as do several members of his family.

“We’ve had emails from people giving their ballot numbers saying they definitely voted for him.”

The party has 21 days from the result to launch a petition, which it says it would rather avoid to save everyone involved wasting time and money.

Mr Berry said: “It won’t affect the outcome in Rainham North, but it does raise questions about the rest of the vote.

“You think, if that was wrong, what else was wrong?

“We’re not suggesting there was a deliberate attempt to rule us out, but the counters were under a ridiculous amount of pressure.

“They were working before 10pm on Thursday and it ran on to gone 10.30am the following day. On Friday night they had 15 minutes break. They were exhausted.

“The council have some serious questions to answer.”

Elsewhere TUSC candidates picked up votes in every seat they contested – from 62 in River ward to 316 in Gillingham South – and the party got a total of 3,042 votes.

Council chief executive Neil Davies, as returning officer, 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 to investigate the matter further as we are bound by the rules of election law.”

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