Britain’s elections standards watchdog says it will allow political campaigners to handle completed postal votes, marking a U-turn in plans it drew up in the wake of controversy surrounding the independence referendum. It comes as Police Scotland continues to investigate allegations that pro-Union campaigners breached electoral law by examining Scottish Referendum postal ballot papers to gauge how well the Better Together campaign was doing before the polls had closed. nThe day after September’s referendum the Electoral Commission circulated a consultation revealing proposed code changes that “make clear that campaigners should not handle any completed electoral registration, absent vote application forms or postal ballot packs”. The experience of the referendum fed into the consultation which has now stepped back from preventing campaigners from assisting voters.
It now says campaigners can collect any postal ballot packs following approval from a Returning Officer.
The original proposals stated that campaigners should not be directly involved in the voting process, including handling completed absent vote applications and postal ballot packs.
Campaigners are already told they should never observe voters completing their ballot paper as it should be completed “in secret”.
But following feedback from the consultation, the Electoral Commission has omitted warnings that campaigners should not handle or take any completed electoral registration forms or postal vote or proxy vote application forms from electors.