Electoral Reform Services (ERS), the independent body that carries out the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Council election, has offered reassurance that the election was fair, in spite of a number of voters being sent duplicate ballot papers.
ERS designs and prints the ballot papers, and receives back votes via the post, internet and text message, but it does not distribute the ballot papers: this was carried out by a separate mailing house contracted directly by the RCVS. Although the exact number of voters who received duplicate papers is not known, it may have been up to 289, as that was the shortfall of voting papers at the mailing house.
ERS carried out a review of voting patterns, including issues such as multiple votes coming from a single IP address, and concluded that it was not possible to say there had been instances of dual voting. Even in the small number of cases where there was a suggestion of dual voting, if those particular votes had been discounted it would not have affected the outcome of the election.
"Our view is... that although a number of members were sent two ballot papers, there is no firm evidence of fraud, and that the result is an accurate reflection of the views of the members of the Royal College. Our recommendation is consequently that the result should be declared as per our election report of 30th April 2012," stated the letter from Adrian Wilkins, ERS Senior Consultant.
As a consequence, the RCVS returning officer, Gordon Hockey, Acting Registrar, declared the election results on 30 April.
The full letter from ERS can be read online.
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