BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 14:27 UK

Investigations called into Bristol council vote mix-up

Two investigations are to take place into a mix-up with the ballot papers in the Bristol City Council election.

An announcement of the result was expected at 1000 BST but has been delayed because "a few hundred" postal votes were added to the wrong wards.

The council's Chief Executive John House said he would be asking the Electoral Commission for an external investigation on Monday.

Mr House added that there would also be a public internal investigation.

"We believe perhaps a few hundred ballot papers had been misfiled," Mr House said.

He said this affected "a small number of wards".

Bishopton and Bishopsworth are known to be two of those wards.

'Not missing'

"We want to find out exactly what's happened in these cases and make sure we learn from what's happened in case anything like this could happen again," he said.

Returning officer Stephen McNamara said: "We have discovered a problem where some postal votes went into the wrong ballot papers when we were opening the ballot papers.

"That is reconcilable and we are in the process of reconciling those numbers.

"Understandably members are very concerned, I'm very concerned at what has happened."

Mr McNamara said it was not true to say votes had "gone missing".

"When we have got to the end of the process, I hope we will be able to account for every ballot paper," he said.

"Initially we discovered there was a problem with Bishopton and Bishopsworth. We didn't know the extent of the problem so therefore decided not to finalise any count until we had opened all the boxes."

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