Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Partisan gain appears to be all that matters
In 2005, Mr Richard Mawrey QC adjudicated on a disputed local government election held in Birmingham. His judgment, later described by the Court of Appeal as a "model of clarity", found that there had been general and personal corruption on the part of three Bordesley Green Labour Party respondents and two others from Aston Labour Party. At the heart of the case was the unrestricted option to vote by post which was introduced in 2001. Richard Mawrey described the postal voting system as something which would disgrace a "Banana Republic". [The Guardian 2005]
Court of Appeal R (Afzal) v Election Court  EWCA Civ 64
Since 2005, little has been done to ensure that the postal voting system is made less liable to corruption. In particular the postal voting system has not been reformed. It is claimed that it is far too easy to register "bogus voters"; that there are no proper identification checks; that political activists are collecting in voting papers and, most worryingly, that the police are reluctant to investigate complaints if they arise in areas where suggestions of "racism" might be raised.
See The Times 4th May 2010 and Daily Mail 4th May 2010.
There should be a return to voting in person with exceptions only permitted where strictly necessary. As things stand, our electoral system shames democracy.
More information: Those wishing to see more information regarding the background to postal voting (and proxy voting) - see House of Commons Research Paper; Representation of the People Act 2000 and explanatory notes.