Official: UK voting system "open to fraud"

by Stephen Tall on January 22, 2008

What has Europe ever done for us? Well, that question was partially answered today: it can expose the Labour Government’s connivance in creating a British electoral system which is open to fraud.

That was the startling conclusion of a report issued today by a committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, which states starkly:

it is clear that the electoral system in Great Britain is open to electoral fraud. This vulnerability is mainly the result of the, rather arcane, system of voter registration without personal identifiers. It was exacerbated by the introduction of postal voting on demand, especially under the arrangements as existed before the changes in the electoral code in 2006. The 2006 changes to the electoral code enhanced the security of the postal voting arrangements, but other shortcomings and vulnerabilities remain. Together with numerous British experts we strongly recommend to eliminate those.

… It should be stressed however, that the United Kingdom delivers democratic elections despite the vulnerabilities in its electoral system. These vulnerabilities could easily affect the overall democratic nature of future elections in Great Britain. The Monitoring Committee should, in its periodic reports on the honouring of commitments by member states, pay special attention to electoral issues in the United Kingdom and, if the vulnerabilities noted are found to undermine the overall democratic nature of future elections in Great Britain, apply to initiate a Monitoring procedure with respect to the United Kingdom.

I called the conclusions ‘startling’ – but, of course, they are not. The Liberal Democrats have been prominent in campaigning for improvements to voter registration, despite the often deaf ears of Labour ministers. The party’s chief executive, Chris Rennard, moved an amendment in the House of Lords in 2006 to help address some of the concerns today’s report has highlighted (you can read his speech here).

What is startling is how unsurprised we all are by the news, and, indeed, how little prominence is being given to it by the news media. Labour’s concern for the integrity of the democratic process is now so casual that this kind of evidence is regarded as little more than background noise.

The Lib Dems’ shadow Justice Secretary, David Heath, is absolutely right:

“We should be deeply ashamed that the United Kingdom, which throughout history has been seen as the cradle of parliamentary democracy, has been found so wanting by our international counterparts. The defects highlighted in the report, such as the fact it is ‘childishly simple’ to register bogus voters, were pointed out in recent legislation. However, the remedies suggested by the Liberal Democrats have been summarily rejected by this Government. For the sake of our democracy and our international reputation, ministers must now deal with the opportunities for abuse.”

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Funny how the EU said nothing about this in 1995, when there were 4 million postal votes out of around 20 million total cast, all of which were unprovable. Many found their votes had been stolen by others.

But of course the EU were happy for there to be lots of fraud then as Blair and Brown were being manoevred into place.

Only now that electoral fraud has served the EU’s purpose ensuring Labour a false third term of power, is the EU willing to start showing any interest in British elections.

by Tapestry on January 23, 2008 at 3:07 am. Reply #

Tapestry, do you stay up late thinking of new ways in which the EU is supposedly meddling in British affairs? It must be very tiresome for you.

by Woodpecker on January 23, 2008 at 8:22 am. Reply #

This is what goes on:

‘A local election candidate arrested in a major electoral fraud inquiry is to be charged with forgery. Mohammed Khan, aged 54, of Hob Moor Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, will be summoned to court this week to face 11 counts of forgery. He
is one of several people at the centre of an investigation into alleged postal vote fraud during the 2006 Birmingham local elections. In April 2006, Mr Khan was arrested and bailed by West Midlands Police detectives working for the economic crime team on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the election process. A day earlier, his wife Naseem Akhtar had been arrested following the discovery of a number of postal voting forms at an address in Ronald Road, Bordesley Green. Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advised the police that fraud charges against a number of individuals including Mr Khan could be brought. A spokeswoman said: “Our lawyers have been considering this case for some months and this week we advised West Midlands Police of our decision.’ [Birmingham Mail]

by Chris Squire on January 23, 2008 at 10:46 am. Reply #

1 – this report isn’t anything to do with the EU

by Hywel Morgan on January 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm. Reply #

You should note that Mr Dale’s commentary on this is rather selective and though he draws attention to Brum Lib Dems and swipes at Labour he does not mention the conviction of a Tory on two counts of personation – whose cousin won the relevant election by just six votes.

Considering his angle on Stephen’s piece this is remarkable really.

by Chris Paul on January 23, 2008 at 5:34 pm. Reply #

Of course, there are many computer experts who can hack and do fraud to those systems.

We can’t really trust everybody..Higher people is willing to pay for the position they are aiming. Very horrible.

by Karen on March 27, 2008 at 8:26 am. Reply #

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