Enfield Council admits sending polling cards to ineligible voters after software ‘glitch’

Civica’s faulty Xpress management software has led to sixteen Enfield residents ineligible to vote being sent either polling cards or postal ballots, reports Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

Enfield Civic Centre
Enfield Civic Centre

Enfield Council has been identified as one of four London local authorities to have sent polling cards and postal ballots to ineligible voters.

An investigation by the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) found some 16 local authorities admitted using Civica’s faulty Xpress management software, but only four – Lambeth Council, Wandsworth Council, Ealing Council and Enfield Council – said polling cards were mistakenly sent to ineligible voters. In total, the LDRS understands 28 people were affected, with Enfield Council making up over half of those with 16 impacted residents.

All have been notified of the error and will not be able to vote in the general election on Thursday, 4th July.

The other councils said they were either made aware of the glitch before polling cards were sent out or had processes in place to avoid the situation. Civica, a software company providing services to 5,000 public bodies globally, according to its website, said an issue with some European electors’ poll cards had been identified and has since been rectified.

Civica’s website said the programme is “trusted” by 70% of local authorities in England and Wales. A brochure on its website said the company’s Mobile Canvasser App is used by more than 80 authorities.

A Civica spokesperson said: “An issue with some European electors’ poll cards was identified, and an update to the system was issued, and therefore resolved. The Xpress register at the polling station will only contain eligible electors for these parliamentary elections.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “We have been informed that a glitch in the Xpress election software, owned by the external supplier Civica, has caused some European registered electors to receive a poll card in error for the general election. Civica has contacted councils and provided an updated software release to rectify the glitch in the system. 

“This has allowed Enfield’s election team to generate a report identifying the total number of affected European citizen voters. In Enfield, 16 residents have been impacted, two of which are postal voters. 

“None of these residents appear on the polling register, so they would not have been able to vote, despite being sent polling cards in error. The elections team has contacted all 16 residents, informing them of this error and advised them not to attend the polling station on 4th July.”

The LDRS understands local authorities have a contractual relationship with their electoral service providers which is not covered by electoral law. It also understands authorities may contact the Electoral Commission for guidance on how to respond to issues that could impact the delivery of polls but are not required to by electoral law.

The LDRS understands the Electoral Commission is unaware of any local authorities contacting them about this issue.

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