Birmingam: fraud case votes still going out

Birmingam: fraud case votes still going out

    Politicalbetting’s Icarus finds out about the disputed votes

When the Birmingham vote fraud case broke on the day that but for the Pope’s death Tony Blair would have called the General Election the view of many on the site was that it would have little impact beyond the city itself. But with the Times and other parts of the media continuing to focus on the new postal voting arrangements it is clear that this will not go away.

Meanwhile, Richard Mawrey QC, the judge in the Birmingham post fraud case, has confirmed to a site regular, Icarus, that those on the electoral roll at the centre of his inquiry will still be getting postal votes for next week’s General Election – presumably at the addresses that were registered.

For in spite of the massive case and the actions that have been taken the electors involved are still registered for postal votes even though they might not know it. Icarus, a long-standing contributor to this site, wrote to judge and the Electoral officers after raising this issue here and this is the reply he got from Richard Mawrey:

I was not able to take any action about the postal votes which had been wrongly or fraudulently registered but I was told by Counsel for the Returning Officer that the Elections Officer (John Owen) had written to everyone on the absent voters’ list to ask whether they were properly on the list and, if so, whether they wanted to remain on the list. I’m not sure that there is very much more that can be done at this stage. The obvious way for the future would be to scrap all existing lists and require new registration (preferably, as in Northern Ireland, with proof of identity).

Lin Homer, the city’s Chief Executive, responded to Icarus with this letter:-

I have instigated a letter to all 53,000 permanent postal voters (to their home address if different from where their vote is sent) reminding them that they can cancel their vote or change where it is sent to. I have also put in place some capacity to undertake forensic analysis of requests. If we spot any areas of concern, the police have confirmed they will proactively pursue enquiries. I hope therefore, we will be in a much stronger position to deter fraud in the system.

There is a two-fold danger for Labour in all of this. It might suffer on May 5th for having “devalued” the electoral process and the post-May 5th political environment could be dominated by specific claims on particular seats leading to challenges to the whole legitimacy of the result

An issue for gamblers, particularly on the Commons seat markets, is that the bookmakers may defer payment until this is resolved. We would be grateful if representative of Spreadfair, IG Index, and Sporting Index could post a clarification.

Mike Smithson

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