Monday, March 07, 2005

Never Mind Iraq, What About a Fair Ballot in Britain?

As democracy spreads from Kiev to Baghdad, Guido has doubts about the reliability and integrity of our own voting processes. A Blackburn Labour councillor faces prison after admitting conspiracy in a local polling fraud. A special election court in Birmingham has been told that a postman was threatened with death unless he handed over a sack full of ballot papers. The next elections may see enhanced police patrols to safeguard the mail.

Third World shenanigans have spread with amazing rapidity into English towns and cities. The trigger for this has been the introduction of postal ballots on demand, a measure justified by New Labour on the grounds that it might reverse falling turnout by making it easier to vote.

This single change has made it almost impossible for us Returning Officers to spot tricks which would be instantly detectable in an old-fashioned polling station.


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