Published and promoted by Martin Francis on behalf of Brent Green Party and its local council candidates c/o 23 Saltcroft Close, Wembley, HA9 9JJ

1 Sep 2010

No Entry. No Exit. Brent Voter Registration Renewals.

Unfortunately, Brent Council's voter registration renewal process has problems. I received my annual renewal notice a few weeks ago. You have the option to confirm or amend your registration details by freephone, text, internet or post, "quick and easy, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week". Or so advertised.

The freephone (0808 146 0115) was not ringing at the times I tried. After speaking to the always responsive electoral services, to check whether there was a typo on the form, I was advised that the number was correct as printed but "currently down".

Upon resorting to the on-line method I discovered a major flaw, which I have since reported. If you are confirming that all details are correct and there are no changes to make, you will then be prompted with the question whether any electors require a postal vote. If answering Yes to this question, you will next be asked which electors require it with a view to sending them a postal vote registration form. But for those electors who already have a postal vote and have confirmed their original details as correct, how should they answer the postal vote question?

If they answer No, then they run the risk of overwriting their original details - contrary to intention! However, if they answer Yes, simply answering the question literally, they will then generate a registration form "in November" that they'd already completed once before! It doesn't help to be presented with the option to change the line number and only the line number of the elector/s wishing to vote by post before finally confirming on-line - since there is no option to change the original answer to the postal vote question itself, with the benefit of hindsight (and assuming one has a direct line to electoral services while one is doing this).

Brent electoral services have told me registration forms generated in due course in such cases should be ignored as redundant (a bit like the misleading No Entry road signage pictured :).

The on-line instructions are clearly misleading and unsatisfactory. At best, they will result in wasted postal vote registration forms and postage. It's a mystery to me how the wording could have been drafted and approved as is, as a matter of semantics and logic. The follow-up question simply needed to say only answer Yes, if this is not already correct on the form. But probably all the steps, and their sequencing, need to be properly looked at again.

Apparently, four more local authorities are also using this site! Barrow in Furness Borough Council, London Borough of Haringey, Northampton Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council.

1 comment:

  1. I had the same results but a different process. When I used the internet link the list I got did not contain Brent! I went onto the Brent site and got lots of junk about voting and how to vote but no form whatsoever to fill in or use the security code. I also got loads of other pages I didn't want and that took ages, so I save myself neither time or money for now the leaflet will go back via the postbox. If I was employing Brent to do this, I would sack them! As it is I am told,'BY LAW YOU HAVE TO ********' not very user friendly.