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Peterborough By-Election Postal Voting Questions

by Chauncey Tinker – 11 Jun 2019

[Hat tip to a number of people on social media who have been publicizing this information including @wurdskee, this is just a summary to further publicize some of the important points.]

Peterborough Council has published a document in response to concerns raised about the postal votes in the recent Peterborough by-election (and the possible involvement in campaigning of an individual from the Labour Party who was previously convicted for postal voting fraud):

Response from Acting Returning Officer following concerns raised about last week’s by-election

The election was won by only 683 votes, 9898 postal votes were returned (of which 400 were rejected apparently). The main document has a summary of the postal votes, it states that :

For the Parliamentary by-election held on 6 June 2019 there were 13,682 postal votes issued. 9,898 of these were returned of which 400 were rejected due to either the signature or date of birth (or both) not matching our records. This equates to 69.6% valid return rate.

In the 2017 Parliamentary election for the Peterborough constituency there were 14,293 postal votes issued. 11,930 of these were returned of which 379 were rejected due to either the signature or date of birth (or both) not matching our records. This equates to 81% valid return rate.

Note the decline in the valid return rate from 81% to 69.6%.

From the Electoral Commission:

UK Parliamentary General Election, June 2017


The rate of rejection of postal votes has decreased to 2.4% from 3.3% in 2015 and 3.8% in 2010

According to the above figures from Peterborough Council the rate of rejection was 4% at the by-election however (400/9898).

In 2017 the postal voting rate was 18% for the UK overall, compared with 29% for this Peterborough by-election. The document contains two links to vote counts by ward, in the second of these links there is a figure for postal votes included (see first link in section titled “Process for a Parliamentary count”):

Breakdown By Ward

Some people have commented on the recurring number 750 for different wards (recurs 11 times for different wards). The number of postal votes in the “eligible” column next to these numbers does vary substantially however. EDIT: It is possible that the recurring 750 figure comes from the total number of postal votes returned being divided up by the number of wards, possibly they don't know how many postal votes come from each ward, but if so it seems odd to put a figure against each ward like this.

Some people have commented on the round numbers such as the number 400 for rejected postal votes, the number 24,500 for votes cast at pollling stations, obviously these numbers are not necessarily significant but it might be indicative.


From Politicalite:

EXCLUSIVE: Convicted Vote-Rigger Out Campaigning Today For Labour In Peterborough

EXCLUSIVE: Fraud, Convicts, And Ethnic Exploitation – How Peterborough Was REALLY Won

EXCLUSIVE: Police Investigating Mystery Man Who Claims He ‘BURNED’ Brexit Party Votes

The Daily Mail also reported:

Labour’s by-election victory is marred by claims that a convicted vote rigger was at the centre of campaign after he was pictured with Corbyn and new MP at centre of anti-Semitism storm

The Guardian:

Seven reasons Labour won the Peterborough byelection

According to the BBC turnout overall was only 48.4%, considerably down from the last general election when the turnout was 67.5%.

Peterborough by-election: Labour beats Brexit Party to hold seat

From Peterborough Today (2008):

Vote-rigging former mayor jailed

Former mayor Mohammed Choudhary and two Labour campaigners Maqbool Hussein and Tariq Mahmood were jailed according to the above article.


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