Tories pay Google to drive postal vote applications to their website – Today News
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Tories pay Google to drive postal vote applications to their website – Today News


 The Conservative Party has been hoodwinking voters into visiting their website by paying Google to place links claiming above official advice on registering for a postal vote  The party was accused of trying to “harvest data” from people trying to register for a postal ballot  With just days to go before the deadline to register for a postal vote, users searching for “register to postal vote” on Saturday were shown the Tory website as the top result  And despite having a button on the page which reads “APPLY NOW”, voters cannot apply for a postal vote through the page  The site just allows them to print out a paper form for their application – and invites them to join the Tory mailing list  Applications for postal votes must be received by local authorities by 5pm on Tuesday to count in the general election  Labour’s Cat Smith said: “Once again the Tories are misleading voters and breaking down trust in politics  “Labour will be doing everything it can to get people registered ahead of the deadline on Tuesday ”  Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said: “It’s unfortunate that impartial resources on voting are often outgunned by campaigns trying to harvest data like this – from voter registration to postal voting  “A review of our outdated campaign rules could look at how to ensure voters always have priority access to the independent election advice needed”  “At the moment it is silicon valley giants setting the rules on campaign ads It’s time to ensure full transparency.”  Labour run a similar website encouraging people to register for postal votes- but have not paid to boost it to the top of search results above official pages from Gov uk.  Some 300,000 people registered to vote on Friday, after the ERS launched National Voter Registration Day  But the group warned millions of potential voters could still be missing from voter roles as Tuesday’s deadline for applications approaches  While other parties publicly backed the registration drive, the Conservative Party did not  The Tories sparked outrage during last week’s Labour manifesto launch by paying Google to hijack search results for the event  People searching for “Labour” were presented with a fake Tory attack website with the address labourmanifesto co.uk.  And they were warned not to mislead the public by Twitter after they rebranded an existing party account to mimic an independent fact checking service

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