Electoral Commission are not always particularly well regarded in media and political circles. Just look at how they handled Tower Hamlets and their press releases before and after the event.
However as regards postal voting they have at least made some postal voting changes to stop growing electoral fraud that has allegedly occurred in recent elections and there have been quite a few court cases now highlighting it.
Evidence of malpractice began to mount from 2005 onwards, after an election court convened in Birmingham found five men guilty of large-scale electoral fraud, involving thousands of postal ballots, at local elections in June 2004. In his written judgement, the election commissioner, Richard Mawrey QC, referred to ‘evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic.’ See here for more.
However the latest attempt, if true, is more down to human curiosity even if it's illegal and can cause a change in election planning and hence results.
Labour Uncut, a well known blog, is alledging Ed Miliband met Russell Brand because the Labour Party were aware the early postal vote returns are poor. Article here.
It is apparently true that election officers can open up the postal vote before polling day but they are not allowed to pass on any information. It's a criminal offence and for good reason - it can effect the outcome of an election.
I hope the Labour Uncut article is not well informed and is just an attempt to get out the core vote.
It is a bit worrying as I can imagine it happening.
I hope the Electoral Commission will look into the process but doubt it.