Cracking down on voting fraud

Following the allegations of voting fraud in Dewsbury last May it isn’t surprising that the Electoral Commission, (EC), are keeping an eye on Kirklees Council, and some 14 others, in a crackdown on voting fraud,

In their rather wordy explanation of why they are doing this, the chairman of the EC, Jenny Watson, who to the best of my knowledge has never had anything to do with the organisation, running, or participation in any form of election, states “These are not easy issues to resolve.”

Well, as somebody who organised election campaigns, at every type of election, from urban districts, through counties, boroughs, parliamentary elections, to elections to the European Parliament, and participated in producing the official documents that underpin our electoral process in every type of election, I have got to say she is talking absolute rubbish.

There was little or no electoral fraud before the last Labour government decided to make it “easier” for people to vote. Not that it has ever been very difficult, apart from that first action of getting your backside out the armchair.

But, Labour still brought in postal votes (PVs) on demand, including for holidays, and tinkered with the compiling of the Electoral Register. A document that is the very bedrock of our electoral democracy.

I will say no more about their real motives except to say that it isn’t difficult at all to sort out the mess of voting fraud they left behind. All we need to do is, once again, make the householder responsible for registering to vote every person in the household, and return postal voting to the categories that worked very well for generations: those who are sick or disabled; those who are away at work, or education, and, for general elections, those who have moved home to another local council area.

A doctor’s signature was required for those who were sick, and I don’t know of any GP who objected to signing PV applications, seeing it as part of their civic duty, unless they were dumped on them in large batches by an enthusiastic political party activist. Yes, we did have some!

But PVs were not accepted for holidays, although I have no doubt that the ingenuity of some voters got round that, the nearest thing we ever had to PV fraud, because, it’s only in relatively recent times that elections have been held at normal holiday periods, when people might be prevented from casting their vote.

Even today we still have polling on Thursdays to facilitate voting, because that was generally half-day closing in most towns and cities. Where we had voting on Saturdays, it made little or no difference to the turn-out, but was very often marginally lower. People who were overseas on business were able to appoint proxies, and that included all Service personnel.

We never, ever, sent ballot papers out of the country, because of the difficulty of guaranteeing delivery, and return, in time for polling day. Another stupid change wished on us by Labour!

It was a system that had stood the test of time, was perfectly well understood, and what electoral fraud there was, and certainly nothing of the scale that is alleged in Dewsbury last May, was absolutely minimal. Only somebody who has no experience of elections, and voter registration, would think it difficult to ditch the present chaotic system, and clean up British politics, by returning to the way things were, where every individuals vote counted, rather than those of so-called communities.


Cornmill Lane