There is not a whisper in the MSM on the subject of the anticipated level of voting fraud in the upcoming general election. Yet after the 2005 election, there were a series of articles, declaring concern that fraud had been widespread, and had been a major factor in Blair’s third ‘victory’.
The BBC carried a piece on this topic on the website in April 2005. LINK.
EXTRACT – A dramatic rise in postal votes has raised concerns about potential fraud and logistical problems.
The main parties are accused of asking voters, especially in marginal seats, to send post vote applications to them. They say they are within the rules.
Tory leader Michael Howard said Labour should be ashamed of ignoring calls for tighter controls, but Labour said the number of fraud cases was small.
The row follows fraud scandals in local elections in Birmingham and Blackburn.
RISE IN POSTAL VOTING IN KEY MARGINALS
Cheadle: 485% to 8,226
Dorset South: 192% to 6,557
Thanet South: 219% to 1,129
Dorset Mid and North Poole: 318% to 4,306
Rugby and Kenilworth: 207% to 6,847
Norfolk North: 163% to 6,323
Weston-super-Mare: 240% to 6,323
Braintree: 333% to 10,000
Taunton: 282% to 11,700
Orpington: 246% to 6,429
Source: The Times
Fact check: Postal ballots
How safe is your vote?
A survey in The Times found that postal vote applications overall had almost trebled since 2001. In some key marginals they had risen by almost 500%.
Mr Howard said the government had left the system open to abuse by failing to put implement some of the safeguards suggested by the Electoral Commission.
He said: “If we had had our way, the recommendations would have been accepted and implemented and we would not have a voting system fit for a banana republic, which is what a High Court judge said is the present position.”
The piece went on to say that both Conservative and Labour had a central clearing house for postal votes, ensuring they worked the marginals for postal votes to the maximum degree possible.
Is this happening all over again?
There were 4 million postal votes cast in 2005. How many will there be in 2010?
Where are the media?
At the 2005 General Election, Blair invited an international election monitoring organisation to keep an eye on the standards of the election. Their report was not published in Britain. But from this article in the Guardian by Hugh Muir, you can see how concerned they were about the validity of the election result in 2005.
Pressure on Britain to curb postal vote fraud
Hugh Muir Saturday August 6, 2005 The Guardian
International election monitors yesterday applied fresh pressure on the government to introduce new measures to combat postal voting fraud. Officials from the Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) yesterday urged ministers to ensure that voting materials were only handled by election officials. Their comments followed controversy during the general election campaign, which was marred by accusations of postal voting fraud and claims that parties were exploiting an insecure system by “harvesting” postal vote applications.
The election monitors told ministers that they should move towards the more secure system used in Northern Ireland, where those applying for a postal vote are obliged to explain why they need one and to have their applications verified by a third party. The monitors also called for more measures to help increase voting in person. This could be done, they say, by operating polling stations “out of country” for voters who are abroad, or by using absentee voting certificates which would require the proxy voter to enter a polling station. The ODIHR also suggested that British voters might be compelled to produce identification at polling stations before being given a ballot paper. A national database of registered voters should be established to help “identify or prevent multiple registrations”. Further safeguards might involve changing the law relating to registrations to emphasise the need for individuals to register themselves. During the election it was found that heads of households were completing registration forms for individual members of their families, a practice that was exposed as open to abuse. The monitors also urged ministers to remove the serial numbers from ballot papers, arguing that these created “opportunities to breach the secrecy of the vote”.
There were also calls for minimum standards for those who administer elections, and concern about the extent to which the monitors were able to scrutinise the May election.
“The United Kingdom’s legislation is not yet in full compliance with its … commitments regarding election observation,” they said. John Turner, president of the Association of Electoral Administrators, said the monitors supported many of the concerns raised by officials during the campaign.
“It is a matter of public record that the problems with this election were the largest number that have come together at any one point in recent years,” he said. “Postal voting diverted attention away from everything else. Most people who were involved are saying fairly publicly that this must never happen again.”
The government has pledged to address concerns with an electoral administration bill, which will still allow postal voting on demand but will also introduce a new offence of fraudulently applying for a postal vote, punishable by up to two years in prison. Under the proposals, electoral registers will be more secure, with household registrations including signatures and dates of birth for all occupants.
However the lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, has indicated that the government will reject the idea of a registration system similar to that in Northern Ireland, where individuals register separately, providing details such as date of birth, signature and national insurance number. The parties are also likely to continue their involvement in garnering postal vote application forms, continuing to make a clear distinction between those and completed postal vote applications. A spokesman for the Department for Constitutional Affairs said: “We recognise that security issues are important but need to be balanced with the ability of as many people as possible to be able to register to vote.” ENDS
More from The Guardian on voting fraud – here.