Monday, October 23, 2006

Postal vote charges


More controversy over postal ballots.

I have been increasingly concerned at the headlong rush into increasing the take up of postal ballots, which has been a bit of a "pet project" for Labour Deputy Leader on South Tyneside, Cllr Iain Malcolm. I have noted on more than one occasion in this blog the fraudulent activities of a few councillors and candidates in other parts of the country who have been so quick to exploit the inherant weaknesses in the system.

My fears are exacerbated today with the news that Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman (pictured) agrees that election results can be rigged through postal ballots.
In a report to the Metropolitan Police Authority he writes:
"It is the view of the SPU (Special Prosecutions Unit) that widespread use of postal votes has opened up a whole new area to be exploited by the fraudster and the opportunity has been taken. It is difficult to assess if abuse of postal voting has altered the outcome of local elections but it is possible. It is the view of the SPU that the postal voting system must be properly managed and scrutinised otherwise the integrity of the electoral system will be compromised. Anecdotally some community contacts have remarked on how some practices that are seen as acceptable outside the UK have been adopted in respect of UK elections. For example, the head of an extended family instructing family members to vote for a particular party or candidate."
Curly thinks it would be wise to restrict, rather than expand, the issuing of postal ballots to those who are genuinely infirmed and unlikely to be able to get to a polling station, or those who will genuinely be out of the constituency on the day of the poll. Experiments in "all postal ballot" elections ought to be stopped forthwith, and students at the age of seventeen should be educated and informed about the need to participate in our democratic processes through the traditional secrecy of the ballot box.

Link


Daily Mail

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