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Investigation finds 'no interference' with council by-election

Complaint made after ballot box incorrectly sealed

An investigation into an unsealed ballot box at a Douglas Council by-election has found there was no interference with voting.

The number of ballot papers "tallied precisely with the number declared as issued at the polling station", the authority said in a statement.

Manx Labour candidates Devon Watson and Samuel Hamer were elected as the new representatives of Derby Ward following the vote on 15 October.

Mayor of Douglas Jon Joughin confirmed on the night that an investigation would take place after a complaint was made.

Turnout for the by-election was 19.6 per cent with 881 votes cast and five spoilt papers.

Alan Buck from Lib Van and independent candidate Amanda Walker also stood in the election.

Following the investigation, the Mayor said: "I have enquired into the circumstances in which a ballot box being returned to the count at the Derby Ward by-election appeared not to have been fully sealed.

"I am satisfied that although the top seal was not attached; the principal seals, ensuring the box could not be opened, were fully in place.

"The only concern therefore was that the slot in the top of the box had not been covered.

"The box had been in the hands of the Presiding Officer from closure of the polling station at 20:00 until approximately 20:15 when it was handed to the Assistant Town Clerk at the count.

"The number of ballot papers in the box tallied precisely with the number declared as issued at the polling station concerned.

"I am therefore satisfied that there could have been no interference with the contents. I have been advised that for future elections there will be emphasis on the need for demonstrative security of the votes.

"The matter is now closed."

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