Concerns raised as BBC reporter reveals insight into how postal votes are stacking up

PUBLISHED: 16:32 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 11 December 2019

There has been criticism of the BBC's politics editor Laura Kuenssberg after she revealed information about how postal voters may have cast their vote prior to the results being revealed tomorrow. Photo: BBC

There has been criticism of the BBC's politics editor Laura Kuenssberg after she revealed information about how postal voters may have cast their vote prior to the results being revealed tomorrow. Photo: BBC

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There has been criticism of the BBC’s politics editor Laura Kuenssberg after she revealed information about how postal voters may have cast their vote prior to the results being revealed tomorrow.

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Postal votes are not counted until every other vote is - after 10pm on the day of the election - however Kuenssberg said she has been told it is "looking pretty grim for Labour in lots of parts of the country".

She said she has received tips from people who were present as a number of postal votes were verified, a process which party members are allowed to attend though efforts are made over discretion.

Speaking live on the BBC, Kuenssberg said: "By and large this is a red/blue punch up, isn't it?

"The postal votes have already arrived - the parties are not meant to look at it but they do kind of get a hint - and on both sides people are telling me that the postal votes that are in are looking pretty grim for Labour in a lot of parts of the country."

It is against broadcasting rules to declare the results of votes while polls are open, as any influence may sway voters, however Kuenssberg did not go into specifics as to what the votes may or may not have shown.

When contacted for comment Ofcom said the broadcasting code requires that on polling day there is no discussion of election issues or reporting of opinion polls whilst polls are open, and they added: "There is law around not revealing how other people have voted but this would be a matter for the Electoral Commission."

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said broadcasting rules are not within their remit, but added: "Anyone attending a postal vote opening session has a duty to maintain secrecy.

"Ballot papers will be kept face down throughout a postal vote opening session. Anyone attending an opening session must not attempt to see how individual ballot papers have been marked and must not keep a tally of how ballot papers have been marked.

"It may be an offence to communicate any information obtained at postal vote opening sessions, including about votes cast, before a poll has closed. Anyone with information to suggest this has happened should report it immediately to the police."

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

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