Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time to stop the postal vote?

Postal votes were originally set up to assist those who could not make it to a polling station to vote in an election. Right up until the previous government they were a good idea and enabled the ill and the elderly their chance to have their say on an election. Come 2001 and Tony Blair's Labour government the rules changed and anyone was allowed to apply for a postal vote, not just those where under strict criteria it was deemed unreasonable to expect a them to go to a polling station on polling day as a result of employment, disability or education restrictions.Generous of Labour wasn't it, after all, what could go wrong?
A police investigation into fake voters in Tower Hamlets has been widened to include fake candidates after at least two fielded by the borough’s extremist-linked mayor, Lutfur Rahman, in last month’s elections appear to have given false addresses.
One of the candidates is standing again in a council by-election next month using a different name from the one he gave only three weeks ago – and a second, apparently false, address.
Making a false statement on a nomination paper is a criminal offence punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment.
The Telegraph has also identified a number of fake postal votes cast at last month’s election by people who do not live at the properties the votes were cast from.
Other, genuine postal voters told this newspaper that their blank postal ballot papers had been taken from them, against their will, by people working for Mr Rahman, even though they did not want to vote for him.
 Ah yes, the islamic republic of Tower Hamlets, quelle surprise. Unfortunately the electoral traditions of Pakistan and Bangladesh have been brought to this country by immigrants and their idea of a vote is pretty much vote early and often. Indeed the Pakistani and Bangladeshi governments have commented that our electoral scrutiny of voters is appallingly weak compared to their own systems which have been designed to prevent fraud.
Now I really don't want to take a vote away from anyone, but the system as it is needs to go back to what it was or scrapping completely and something else set up in its place. Electoral fraud is a serious problem in the UK now and certain communities led by unscrupulous, corrupt (and often extremist) leaders have used it to get votes necessary to force their candidates and supporters into political power.
I don't know if Rahman would have won without the postal votes, but it wouldn't surprise me if he hadn't, nor do I see any real solution other than removing the postal vote from any who aren't disabled and going back to the original system.

6 annotations:

Kath lissenden said...

Postal votes are important, but they are being abused.
Postal votes should only be available to the elderly, disabled and those with metal health issues who find going out or being in public difficult, these votes should be reserved for these groups only and rigorously checked and enforced.
The problem is the abuse of the system by some sections of the community (as in tower hamlets)and those who seek to pervert the course of democracy for their own ends.
Considering the government is talking about allowing mobile phone voting I think postal votes are the least of our worries to be honest.
Electronic voting will be even more open to corruption and will sound the final death knell of democratic voting as we know it after all look how well electronic voting worked out in the US!!!

Bobo said...

Coming soon to the U.K voting followed by purple dip.

Pablo said...

Voting ought to made compulsory but with an option on the ballot paper to abstain.
I took up the option of a postal vote because I was increasingly irked by the legions of people with clipboards waiting to pounce.

Dioclese said...

Totally agree with Pablo about compulsory voting. Been advocating it for years.

I've had a bit of experience with postal voting having been involved in both issuing and counting same. It's quite an involved process and shouldn't be open to abuse unless there's some collusion from the people who issue/count same.

I've also manned a polling station. The men with clipboards aren't allowed inside, but they are still a bloody nuisance.

Anonymous said...

The other thing that needs bringing back is accessible electoral rolls.

They used to be available for checking at libraries and main post offices but are now often hidden away in remote council office basements.

Better still, get them all online.

Anonymous said...

There should be no postal votes at all I'm afraid.
Our democracy depends on the secret ballot. That means voters must not be able to demonstrate, to anyone, how they voted.