Thursday, February 24, 2011

Electoral Reform Society- "financially independent and not in hoc to any big donors"

Oh dear, apparently that claim is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:
So the company in charge of administering the referendum on AV is itself funding one side of the campaign. As the internal documents from the Society (Electoral Reform Society) state, “it is possible that ERSL (Electoral Reform Services Ltd) will profit as a result of a YES vote (increased business opportunities).” And if ERSL profits then so will the Electoral Reform Society, which is currently straining its resources to persuade Britain to vote Yes. This is a financial conflict of interest of the very gravest kind.
Read why here.

4 comments:

Edinburgh said...

It is most unlikely there will be any "financial conflict of interest", much less any "of the very gravest kind".

Why not? Because the adoption of AV is unlikely to bring any new business for Electoral Reform Services Ltd.

Why not? Because AV ballot papers can very easily and quickly be counted by hand. There is no need for machine or computer counting and no need for specialist services like those provided by ERSL.

It was and is a non-story. But when your NO campaign is desperate you clutch at any straw, not matter how bent.

O'Neill said...

Because AV ballot papers can very easily and quickly be counted by hand. There is no need for machine or computer counting and no need for specialist services like those provided by ERSL.

There is no possible conflict of interest because at this moment we continue to count ballots by hand... that's the defence?

1. In 5, 10, 15, 20 years time you're guaranteeing me we will be still counting ballots manually?
2. You mention "specialist" services provided by ERSL, those include only the provision of machines to aid ballot counting?

Edinburgh said...

O'Neill
You show your hand very clearly when you ask me to guarantee something that you already know neither I nor anyone else could possibly guarantee.

I have no idea how we might be voting in 10 or 20 years time. But if AV is introduced for the next Westminster elections it is as certain as anything can be that the votes will be recorded on paper ballot papers. Such papers can easily be counted by hand and that is most likely as it would be the most cost-effective option. So there would be no money in it for ERSL or any other commercial contractor.

I'm afraid you've lost me with question 2. If you want to know what ERSL does and can do, take a look at their website.

O'Neill said...

A company which declares on its website:

Each year we help thousands of organisations hold their own ballot, election, vote, survey or referendum. Some have fewer than a hundred voters; others have more than a million; but all choose Electoral Reform Services to guarantee the integrity and independence of the ballot process.

...has decided to get involved (until yesterday, secretly) in the AV Campaign for non-commercial reasons?

You can surely see where people may at least assume a "conflict of interest"?

Re the "5, 10, 15, 20" years, any company worth its salt plans long-term- a possible contract to deliver this system in 10 years is worth the investment now.