Vote early, vote often - Problems with UK voting system

#1
Latest story about postal voting. A general increase in postal vote applications would not be a surprise or concern in itself, but it seems that there has been a three-fold rise in some inner cities where there have already been allegations of vote-rigging in previous elections.

Neither the electoral authorities, nor the police, have the powers or the machinery to investigate any postal vote application without some definite grounds of suspicion.

A key factor in this type of fraud is the failure of the genuine individual to register to vote.

Rise in postal votes fuels fear of fraud

Alert in marginals as Guardian survey reveals threefold increase in applications

Sandra Laville and Steve Dinneen
Monday March 28, 2005
The Guardian

Record numbers of electors are applying for postal votes for the general election, raising fears that it will be open to widespread fraud.
A survey by the Guardian of 55 councils covering 135 constituencies reveals applications to vote by post have risen in all cases, tripling in some places, particularly in inner cities.

The increase comes as demand grows for urgent changes in the postal-voting system, last week labelled by a judge as "an open invitation to fraud". There is an ongoing court case, and police are investigating fraud in six areas of the country.

Numbers of applications for postal votes are likely to increase further once the date of the election is announced - widely expected to be May 5.
Doubts over the safety of postal voting have been highlighted by several recent cases. Judge Richard Mawrey QC, presiding over hearings into allegations of widespread, organised postal voting fraud in the local elections in Birmingham last June, said last week the system was "an open invitation to fraud".

He has heard evidence of wholesale theft of votes in the city, with thousands of postal ballots being diverted to a "safe house", where they were allegedly filled in on an "industrial scale". He concluded: "Someone who was so inclined could defraud the system."

The Guardian survey reveals that in areas where allegations of postal-voting fraud have been made in the past - the "hot spots", according to one local government official - increases in applications to vote by post are among the highest.

In Birmingham's 11 constituencies, more than 53,000 people have asked to vote by post, compared with 16,000 at the last election.

In Woking, where police have begun an investigation into allegations of postal-voting fraud at June's local elections, 15,000 electors are asking to vote by post, compared with 2,356 in the last election.

The Electoral Commission, which has called for urgent changes to the system to increase security, is hoping guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers will help detect and prevent abuses before the general election.

Police forces in marginal constituencies such as Basingstoke (Conservative majority 880), Cheadle (Liberal Democrat majority 33), Dorset South (Labour majority 153), and Perth (Scottish Nationalist Party majority 43), are likely to be put on the highest alert.

But returning officers say they need the powers and resources to investigate.

Malcolm Dumper, executive director of the Association of Electoral Administrators and the returning officer in Southampton, where applications for postal votes have risen from 2,000 at the last general election to 26,000, said: "I organise the election in constituencies with high student populations. Many of them live in houses of multiple occupancies, so you can have 20 postal ballot papers being sent to one address. But we don't have the facilities to check these addresses and voters, we don't have the powers or the machinery to check the validity of the applications."

The government has defended the postal-voting system and changed the law in 2000 to make it available on demand. But recent cases have shown how easy it is for large numbers of ballot papers to be sent to one address where they are filled out fraudulently or for party supporters to collect papers from householders and fill them in for them.

Inner-city areas with high ethnic minority populations are particularly vulnerable to manipulation. Ayoub Khan, prospective parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Birmingham Ladywood, said: "An aspect of the culture is the hierarchical system, which extends to grandparents and extended family in Pakistan. Key members of the community, who either have party affiliations or have relatives who do, will tell the family they want all these postal votes to be given to a certain individual."

The police are investigating allegations of postal voting fraud in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Woking. In Reading, police have concluded an investigation which found there was fraud but said there was no evidence to bring charges against individuals.

A former Labour councillor in Blackburn faces a possible prison sentence after admitting to conspiracy to rig the 2002 town hall election by getting supporters to fraudulently fill in more than 200 blank postal votes.

"The problem is that the postal-voting system is simply not secure enough," said Lord Greaves, a Liberal Democrat peer who has called for international observers to oversee the general election.
source
 
#2
Bit worrying! 8O

Notice how they didnt mention that the fraud case was againt LABOUR officials. :roll:

What are the chances that if fraud was discovered on a huge sacle post-election, that the result would be called into question?

A_S
 
#3
Police forces in marginal constituencies such as Basingstoke (Conservative majority 880), Cheadle (Liberal Democrat majority 33), Dorset South (Labour majority 153), and Perth (Scottish Nationalist Party majority 43), are likely to be put on the highest alert.
Why?


Malcolm Dumper, executive director of the Association of Electoral Administrators and the returning officer in Southampton, where applications for postal votes have risen from 2,000 at the last general election to 26,000, said: "I organise the election in constituencies with high student populations. Many of them live in houses of multiple occupancies, so you can have 20 postal ballot papers being sent to one address. But we don't have the facilities to check these addresses and voters, we don't have the powers or the machinery to check the validity of the applications."

In itself an innocent comment, until I transposed it to hereabouts.

There is an EXTREMELY high student population in Talibanistan Minor.

There are also an extremely high number of these multiple occupancy dwellings owned by 'Absentee" landlords and companies , especially in Aston, Bordesley Green, Small Heath, Selly Oak, Edgbaston, Sparkbrook, Perry Bar, Handsworth etc. Any of you in DMS who lodge in the area will know what I mean.

Now I can't make a direct accusation, but I will certainly be making the suggestion to the Party , and local election officials, that house ownership is checked against postal vote applications. Not who lives there , but who owns the property.

My point is , in certain areas, houses are rented not just by students , but by families who may feel a burden of debt to vote the way a Landlord directs.

Now how can I prove a correlation between who owns a property , or a group thereof , and an increased number of postal vote applications?

Would the simplest way be to look at households with 5 applications and over? I mean, isn't it unusual in itself, for an entire household to all be applying for postal votes?

What is the simplest way to check this?
 
#4
Certainly might be no bad thing if party canvassers found some tactful way of actually mentioning to people they visit that they are on the electoral register. Would have to be done with great care and tact, to avoid annoyance and possible accusations of sections of the community being harassed.
 
#6
Having seen the Lib Dem postal vote for a certain nameless Ward arrive at the count and it appear the size of an extra ballot box, I have been sceptical to say the least about postal voting for some time. It is also very easy for canvassers to note who are the disabled, elderly or habitual none voters and then ask for postal votes for these persons. After a while it gets easier with continued success, and then you get cocky. Adding on students who are away at University during term time, ex-tenants who vacated the property years ago, the dead, and people you have made up from whole cloth. A lot of the Neue Arbiet types trying it on now seem to be Asians. ( see the 6 councilors under suspicion named last week in the Independent )They have access to a wide network of multi-occpancy tenancys filled with brothers and cousins with similar sounding ethnic names. So it gets even easier and more tempting. Beats the hell out of actually working too. Most candidates I have met were lazy sdos who looked upon canvassing and other electioneering as beneath them.
 
#7
I am sure that the vast majority of canvassers and other party workers in the United Kingdom would not touch electoral fraud with a bargepole.

But once it starts, it may be spreading like an infection. In a hard-fought inner city contest, once the idea gets around that your opponents are indulging in electoral fraud but the authorities are nearly powerless to act, the temptation to the foolish and fanatical to "even up the score" must be overwhelming.

I have mentioned before that forces personnel could conceivably be one of the groups, as mentioned above by mussolini93, to be targetted for electoral fraud. Especially if they do not register to vote. This would not have been possible until the legislative changes in 2000/2001; and in the case of "service voter" registration, until MOD eventually abandoned having applications channelled centrally through their system.
 
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