Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Postal Vote fraud rife!

Interestingly enough figures have shown that postal votes are up in many areas, in some cases by as much as 500% (though I can't remember where).

This is obviously presenting a challenge for the counting staff as there are a lot more to verify this time around.

However the BBC brings us news that in the two wards in Birmingham where a judge said that the level of fraud would have shamed a banana republic, postal votes are sharply down, by as much as 80%.

Constitutional affairs minister Bridget Prentice has said that the postal vote system is as secure as it can be which is a bit untrue as we still do not have individual registrations. However if it was the case the statement is a clear demonstration of why postal votes on demand need to be scrapped.

They are not secret ballots, and anyone can apply for one. Whilst I am at it the electoral roll system needs some work as well. I keep coming across properties where the electoral roll shows the owner rather than the tenant, which would be OK, but the owner may well own several properties and so get several votes, whilst the tenant ends up with none. We need to make it clear that the electoral roll is for the people that live in a property not those who own it.

Lastly, the only way to get vote fraud down is to end postal votes on demand, and if the concern is that turnout will drop, then we just need to move the day of voting to either a Saturday or Sunday, or preferably both.

The BBC has this.


Mark Senior said...

I do think you are exaggerating somewhat the extent of the problem . Yes there is a pattern of fraud in a relatively few wards all or mostly all dominated by asian politics in a few metropolitan areas but it should be possible to police these wards closely enough to ensure fair elections .
In the 70's and 80's there was similar abuse of postal votes in some nursing homes in Brighton and other South Coast resorts with collusion between Nursing Home Owners and Conservative candidates to ensure residents voted in the way that suited them but the abuses would have minimal impact on local elections as a whole .

Benedict White said...

mark, clearly that is not the case. We had the pottential postal vote fraud in Leeds, See here:

So it is not just confined to Asian areas. What is more it seems that in some areas someone develops a system for rampant fraud. We generaly only find out after the result if at all. This damages democracy.

Mark Senior said...

Yes I have read of the Leeds potential fraud case ( your description of fraud in full swing a bit over the top ) and the ward concerned has a substantial though not majority Asian community and it has been brought to light and will hopefully be thoroughly investigated and dealt with as it should be but again I stress that these cases are a very small number and have a minimal impact except in a very few wards .

Benedict White said...

mark, so it is OK to steal peoples right to a secret vote as long as it is limited?

I see.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been going on about this for ages: the result of the last general election was fixed.

nuLieBore as not silly enough to fiddle the result on Thursday to make them show gains, but they will make sure that they keep control.

They depend on people thinking that it is too horrendous consider, but the corruption of this evil government is total.

Mark Senior said...

No Benedict , of course it is not alright whether it is 1 case or hundreds , which is why the police and electoral commission are investigating thoroughly and will if required prosecute .
What is not alright is for you and others to claim that elections as a whole are riddled with fraud see that stupid post prior to this from someone who quite understandably keeps his ravings and rantings anonymous .

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, I have to say I think that is a little over the top!

Mark, you make the assumption that all cases of fraud will come to light and that those that do not will not be significant.

Given that Crawley turned on 37 votes at the General election, and power changed hands from Labour to Conservatives on the drawing of straws, that position is just not tenable. You do not need much vote fraud or in house intimidation (as in one partner uses influence over another to get them to vote one way or another) to change some important results.

Mark Senior said...

I'm not sure what you are quite saying now Benedict . In house/partner intimidation ? I expect that goes on so a small extent in any case . Are you saying no postal votes or proxy votes at all or go back to years ago when they were very difficult to get and 80% were Conservative .
You seem to be trying to achieve perfection in an imperfect world at the expense of disenfranchising many many people .

Benedict White said...

mark, I can intimidate you as much as I like to vote one way, but once in the booth, you can do what you like, and then tell me that you voted another way, which is the point of a sectret ballot and the 1872 Ballot Act!

Postal votes should be for those who need them, not just anybody. As for disenfranchising people, there are better ways fo dealing with that, like changing the day of voting.