Did Labour’s changes make cheating much easier?
There’s a piece in my local Sunday paper today which makes my blood boil – a batch of 100 votes going missing in a council ward where about a third electors have applied to vote in this way.
I’m sure this story is being repeated in many places:-
“..A conservative council election candidate has claimed more than 100 postal votes, destined for homes in two streets just yards away from a polling station, have gone missing amid fears that â€˜underhand tacticsâ€™ may be at play.
The mailed ballot papers were intended for residents in Coventry Road and Cromwell Road in Queens Park, Bedford, but Parvez Akhtar, a candidate for the area, says that 108 papers for the vote in the Mayoral, ward and Alternative Vote referendum elections have vanished.
Mr Akhtar has also raised concerns that a total of 1,900 people out of a ward of just 6,000 have applied to vote via post…”
When council elections were last fought the turnout in the ward was in excess of 60%. Elsewhere in the borough it averaged about 38%.
All this is down to the huge relaxation in the postal voting rules introduced by the Blair government. It used to be that you had to have a reason why you should vote in this way – now anybody can apply.
This needs to be reversed as soon as possible if we are to have confidence in our electoral system.