Monday, April 04, 2005
"The system is wide open to fraud .. " Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC
Confidence in postal voting - if there was any outside the government - has just been finally shot to pieces by today's verdict in Birmingham.
Thousands of people did indeed have their votes stolen from them last June by Labour-supporting poll-riggers.
Three Labour councillors in the Aston ward of Birmingham were caught actually handling unsealed postal ballots in a deserted warehouse in the city during a late-night raid in June 2004. The votes were later counted towards that month's local elections. They were able to exploit "reforms" to postal voting introduced by the Government.
The judge said the system was "hopelessly insecure" and expressed regret that recent warnings about the failings had been dismissed by the government as "scaremongering".
Well, the government knows all about scaremongering, just as it has found it effective to dismiss the concerns of well-informed and worried people as "hysterical". It is going to be very unhappy about this verdict. It is going to go into something of a spin.
But how can even those Downing St spiders restore confidence before the general election? Judge Mawrey referred to
- "....evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic.."
As long ago as last year, on August 27, the Electoral Commission said
- "based on the evidence gathered in these pilots, and in particular the strength of public criticism of a single voting method all-postal voting should no longer be pursued for use at UK elections"
See the BBCreport of today's verdict
and the warmwell page on postal vote rigging