” The circumstances of the anomoly are written on the envelope and after the polls close it is delivered to the returning officer (the guy who supervises the election) for investigation. If the anomaly is due to some error on their part your vote will be added into the general pool. If it is due to some mistake on your part it gets rejected. If there is evidence of fraud or vote rigging, they call the police in.”
Who is this “returning officer”(who appoints them?) and what assurances do you have that she or he himself is inclined to make such an honest judgement?
Also if they judge the vote is a mistake on their part and simply throw in your vote with the already existing fraudulent vote then you have but half a vote.
The post of returning officer is an honorary one, and is the Sheriff (ancient honorary title) of a County, or the Chairman of a local Council. The actual duties are carried out by an 'acting returning officer', the Electoral Registration Officer, who is usually the Chief Executive of the local council. The duties are supervised and monitored by the Electoral Commission, which sets performance standards.
Returning officers are appointed by the local council, but their duties as returning officer are distinct from their duties as a council employee. They are highly trained and their duties are very strictly defined - you shall do this, you shall not do this, you must do it at this point and not at this and so on. If you've ever seen the results of British elections being announced you'll have seen them. Usually nondescript sober men who stand up and say "As the duly appointed returning officer for the district of wherever, I hereby give notice that..." Even what and how they say that is circumscribed by law.
Representatives of political parties have the right to be present at each stage of the verification and counting process and they are legally empowered to challenge any part of it. Such challenges MUST be accepted and suspect votes investigated. Such representatives can also challenge the decisions of the returning officer. His or her decisions are final, but if Representatives feel they are being grossly negligent and/or corrupt they can make formal complaints.
Because returning officers have to sign the official secrets act, if they are found to have been dishonest in the execution of their duties, they go to Gaol. No ifs, buts or whyfors.
By mistake on their part I meant if there was a mistake in the register, or if someone had checked the wrong name off. Duplicate votes would require more checking.
No system is perfect of course, but we dont have the gross abuses that Americans on these boards frequently assert the US electoral system suffers from.