Tuesday, 27 December 2016

On The Cards

Since when were major constitutional announcements made on Bank Holidays during parliamentary recesses?

As with the boundary changes, the Conservatives had assumed that they were going to lose the 2015 General Election. But their own rogue activists' electoral fraud, dutifully unreported by the "Gold Standard" Orgreave Broadcasting Corporation, led to a different result.

Therefore, as Mikey Smith writes:

Voters will be forced to show ID at polling stations under a new Tory crackdown on 'voting fraud' - despite there being little evidence of it happening. 

A pilot scheme cooked up by Sir Eric Pickles will see voters required to produce ID before voting. 

He also suggested stricter rules on postal votes and called for English and Welsh to be the only languages allowed at polling booths. 

The government is expected to accept almost all of the measures proposed by Sir Eric, the anti-corruption tsar. 

Of 51.5 million votes cast in elections in 2015, there were 481 cases of alleged electoral fraud. Of these, the vast majority were not voting offences. 

More than half were campaigning offences - such as complaints about candidates making false statements about opponents, expenses offences or issues to do with campaign posters or flyers. 

Just 123 alleged cases related to voter fraud, with 26 cases of impersonating another voter, 27 cases of improper postal voting and 25 cases of 'undue influence' over a voter. 

Of these 123, all but 22 were dismissed - mostly because it was clear no offence had been committed or due to lack of evidence. 

Of the remaining 22 cases, six resulted in police cautions.

In their recommendations on how to combat this apparent epidemic, the Electoral Commission admitted certain groups of the population were less likely to have acceptable forms of ID. 

They include young people, people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women and the elderly. 

They suggested this problem could be solved by introducing a free 'voter card', which citizens would have to apply for before casting their ballot. 

This plan would cost between £1.8m and £10.8m, they say. 

Sir Eric says a range of forms of ID could be trialled, some of which would not require photographic evidence. 

He said: "A driving licence, passport or utility bills would not seem unreasonable to establish identity." 

Sir Eric insists there is little evidence that introducing the checks would reduce the number of people seeking to vote. 

New strict voter ID laws introduced in some US states ahead of the 2016 election resulted in a stark drop in minority turnout. 

Research by the LA Times showed that the racial turnout gap doubled or tripled in states with strict voter ID laws.

People from Latino communities were 7.1% less likely to vote if they had to show ID.

The draconian measures were pushed through by Republicans in the United States despite research showing voter fraud was essentially nonexistent.

Between 2000 and 2014 there were 31 credible instances of voter fraud in the United States out of more than a billion votes cast.

Sir Eric’s own report, published earlier this year, listed just three significant electoral court cases involving voter fraud since 2004 and only 11 significant convictions for voter fraud offences since 2005.

These included the notorious Tower Hamlets mayoral election, in which Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of illegal and corrupt practices after he and his agents were responsible for bribery, impersonation and postal vote fraud, among other offences. [That is one way of putting it. The egregious law of "undue spiritual influence" calls for mass defiance.]

But while Sir Eric’s report identified some ‘risks’ in the voting system, it provided scant evidence there was widespread exploitation of those risks.

Lo and behold, this is being "tried out" in areas with large Muslim populations. It will hit the poorest in those areas, but it would hit the poorest in any area. However, since in this case those will be Muslims, all "points" will be said to have been "proved".

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats engaged in electoral fraud in Hackney in the 1990s. It ended when the politicians behind it were sent to prison. That is how to deal with these things, such as they are.

A return is also long overdue to the requirement of a very good reason if you wanted a postal vote.


  1. I worked in the Jobcentre where many could not even furnish ID to cash girocheques. This will be a huge problem as many have no means of obtaining proof. Surely only the bill payer in a household will be able to obtain a utilities bill, what about adult kids in that household? Their names won't be on the bills.

    It's really quite simple. As Republican Governors and State Houses in the US have figured out, it's hard to get people that you have traditionally oppressed, demonised and politically marginalised to vote for you, so the simpler solution is to not allow them to vote at all. I'm only surprised it's taken the Tories this long to either figure this out, or have the brass neck to try it, quoting the 'widespread problem' of voter fraud. Combined with the upcoming Boundary Commission changes, this should ensure the continuance of their One-Party State quite nicely.

  2. Passports are expensive: £72.50 at the very least, while provisional driving licences cost £34. If you’re solvent, the cost will seem negligible; if you’re struggling to make your rent each month, deciding to spend £34 simply to vote will seem a hefty cost to pay if it means cutting down on your food and fuel budget for a week or two.

    The message this move sends is that people can’t be trusted to vote. If you already feel as though the political system has forgotten you, and you feel voting makes little difference, planning weeks in advance to secure the ID you need to vote is unlikely to increase voter turnout.

    At the moment, campaigners on polling day battle to spread the message that you don’t need your polling card to vote, so that people who might otherwise not vote can drop into their polling station on the way home from work. Making voters jump through hoops is a retrograde step and assumes guilt on the part of voters.

    To properly combat electoral fraud, a properly funded police unit with the resources to investigate organised fraud makes far more sense.

  3. You can now travel from Land's End to the Scottish border and never leave the area of a police force that was investigating Tory election fraud, yet there has still not been a word about it on the BBC. I used to think the Queen backed Brexit, but now I know she couldn't have done because Laura Kuenssberg says she did. Anything Kuenssberg says must be a lie. Has to be a lie.