Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Probity of the electoral registers is the key to all

Guido is hinting darkly at the possibility of postal vote fraud in the Glenrothes bye election. I wouldn't be at all surprised. You'll recall the Birmingham wards at the centre of an electoral fraud scandal in 2004, in a case which a judge said 'would shame a banana republic'?

In that case, a rigorous audit of the register by the police and city council led to a drop of 80% in the number of registered postal votes in the two wards at the heart of the fraud, and more than 50% in four other wards. Report HERE.

I don't think all the spurious postal votes in Birmingham were Labour party fraud, for what it's worth. I think many of them were spurious immigrant registrations. As I blogged back in August last year;
'Combing out' a million unproductive immigrants and packing them off home may sound like a huge task, but it need not be. First we must abolish the automatic right of Commonwealth citizens to vote. Signing onto the electoral register opens up a whole world of bank accounts, social housing and benefits as well as access to utility accounts . Our electoral register is deeply corrupted with false entries and the unentitled. When one council started to undertake a house-by-house audit after a postal vote fraud scandal, their electoral role rapidly fell by 80% as the frauds withdrew. This would be replicated in all of our large towns and cities.
The probity of our electoral registers is the key to the health of our democracy. We've neglected it at our peril. Only Commonwealth citizens who can verify both their identity and that they have exceptional leave to remain in the UK should be admitted to the register. Postal vote applications should be supported by a declaration signed by someone above fraud - and this won't include semi-literate village imams, self-proclaimed African ministers with a $30 degree in divinity from the Port Harcourt Postal School of Theology or new-age crystal healing Shamans. Sod them.

We need to tackle this petty corruption locally, at our grass roots, or not only Glenrothes but every election result will be open to corrosive doubt. Time to start the clean-up.


Chris said...

For all its faults the mature form of the Roman Republican system is still a model for modern electoral systems:

1: voting in person *only*
2: Censors appointed every five years to audit and, if needs be, weed out in the electoral rolls.
3: Severe punishments for attempting to obtain the franchise by deception or fraud.

As for their thoughts on term limits and the like...

Anonymous said...

"Only Commonwealth citizens ... should be admitted to the register."

And all EU citizens as well, naturellement.

Voting in person only is also a good safeguard.

Well within living memory, you could only get a postal vote in truly exceptional circumstances. There were good reasons for that - probably the very same reasons that have motivated Labour to change those rules.

William Gruff said...

Apart from saying that no one other than a 'U'K citizen should be eligible to vote in any election in this country I heartily agree Raedwald. We should also make it a deportable offence, on completion of sentence, for any alien to engage in any attempt at electoral fraud.

Chrysippus said...

I used to be an Immigration Officer working for the Home Office. Before visiting an address one would normally contact the Collator at the local Police Station. He/she did various checks which included the Electoral Roll. It was not unusual to find that the overstayer/illegal immigrant (and not necessarily commonwealth) was on the roll. In essence, if householder puts down that Michelle Souris lives in the premises he/she had a vote.......