The first case of electoral Twitter law breaking in the land and who do you think it could possibly have been... drum roll please... of course. Labour's very own Twitter Tsar Kerry McCarthy. As a lawyer and a whip you would hope she would have just taken a moment to think, "hang on...maybe I shouldn't broadcast this sensitive infomation to the world". She has tried to laugh it off to
Chief ConstableThe letter is with the police.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
PO Box 37
Valley Road, Portishead
29th April 2010
By fax to 01275 816 040
COMPLAINT REGARDING KERRY MCCARTHY'S
PUBLICATION OF POSTAL VOTE DATA
To the Chief Constable,
I am writing to ask you to investigate a possible breach of electoral law by Kerry McCarthy, the Labour Party candidate in Bristol East.
On Thursday, April 29th 2010 at 14:36, it appears Ms. McCarthy posted the following information on her Twitter account:
“First PVs opened in east Bristol, our sample: Eng Dems █; Greens █; UKIP █; TUSC █; BNP █; Lib Dem █; Tory █; Labour █. #gameON!”
When the information was "retweeted" (re-posted) by other users of the site with queries as to whether her knowing and publishing the information was legal, she apparently deleted the tweet. It seems did this too quickly for it to appear in the Google cache record. It does, however, appear in the records of Tweetminster, an online aggregator of political tweets. The relevant Tweetminster record is appended for your convenience and is available at the following web address:https://search.tweetminster.co.
Upon phoning Bristol Electoral Services, we were told that all the candidates' agents were present at the opening of around two hundred postal votes this week. They are not meant to see the results, however, and if they do are under strict confidentiality rules, not least because they risk prejudicing the results of the election. There are further laws against publishing the information in written form.
We ask you to investigate whether Ms. McCarthy did, indeed, have access to and publish confidential information about postal votes, and whether her agent could have passed her the information.