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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Ending postal voting will improve democracy more than AV

Under Labour, two unforgivably corrupt mutations to our electoral system were allowed to fester like an unchecked cancer, threatening the fundamental health and integrity of our democracy. The first was the unequal electoral quotient, which because it allowed Labour MPs to be elected for Northern towns with shrunken populations with two-thirds the votes needed by a Tory candidate in the South East both Blair and Brown were content to leave be. Most mature democracies work with an EQ of +/- 3%; slightly shakier ones with +/- 5%. Under Labour the UK was way off the scale. To the sound of much Labour whining, Cameron is correcting this. 

Secondly, Labour not only introduced postal-votes-on-demand but failed to regulate the voter registration system at a time of mass immigration. Any illegal Commonwealth overstayer can still register unchecked, and add a host of fictional housemates to the register without question. Any Bangladeshi (and yes, those from the Indian sub-continent have been caught time and time again at this so this is fair) can include every member of his extended family, including those not even in the UK, on his registration form without question. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky has estimated that there are some 3.5m persons on the Electoral registers who shouldn't be there - and an equal number missing who should be. 

Trying to change to an AV system at a time when the most compelling and fundamental components of the democratic process are in such disorder is pure folly. Get the corrupt mutations sorted first, cure the cancer that's actually killing democracy, before you even start thinking about changing the system. 


DeeDee99 said...

Banning postal voting except for those who are registered disabled and cannot realistically reach a polling booth would also prevent the religious (or otherwise) leaders of some communities completing the voting slip on behalf of some members of the community.

If people cannot be bothered to go to a polling station to vote, they shouldn't be allowed to vote.

Quiet_Man said...

I would certainly remove postal voting, but allow a visited vote in the month before an election for the housebound only. If you're abroad on holiday, then tough, same with working and ex pats.

English Pensioner said...

I had a young Asian working for me just before I retired. He was ordered by his father to have a postal vote, and hand it over to his father.
Personal voting should be a must unless there are very good individual reasons to the contrary.

Matt Foster said...

Postal voters 'can't be bothered' to go to the polling station?

What about students who live hundreds of miles away from their constituencies? Or the millions of people who work away from home and can't get to a polling station on a specific day?

By all means sort out the fraud, but the principle of the postal vote itself is sound.

Gareth said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the push for ID cards became something of a convenient excuse to let things like this fester.

Electoral Register, National Insurance Numbers, Benefits system, immigration etc are full of holes. The promise of ID cards was that it would deal with those holes.(which of course it wouldn't.)

Rather than fix broken systems they hoped to replace many of them with just one.

Clunking Fist said...

Does the UK have a "special vote" for those outside their electorate on polling day? Much more secure than postal voting.