Which is worse – electoral fraud or low turnouts?
Communities minister, Hazel Blears, was faced with big dilemma when she appeared on BBC2’s Daily Politics this morning. How could the government go on resisting the individual voter registration in view of this week’s report from the Electoral Commission saying that “safeguards introduced to combat electoral fraud “are easily bypassed” because of weaknesses in the system?
The head of standards, Sir Christopher Kelly, said that the current arrangement of one registration per household “could not stop bogus names being registered and used as fraudulent postal votes.
The Blears response, when pressed on the programme, was that such a change could lead to fewer people voting and she implicitly suggested that this was worse then the possibility of fraud.
But is Blears right? Surely a system that is seen as being easy to “fix” is more damaging than low turnout rates.
Blears didn’t say it but Labour believes that it is the main beneficiary from moves to boost turnout and is opposed to anything that makes postal voting more difficult. The individual registration requirement could be very challenging.
This morning the Times makes this its main lead and as we move into another round of elections this is an issue that will not go away.
To go on ignoring the Electoral Commission could be very damaging and this issue is not going to go away. What’s the point of having bodies like the Electoral Commission if the Government ignores what it says?