The coming UK election is expected to be very close. It may well be decided by fraud. This is because British politicians have followed Australia's, and "made voting easy".
But, as Mr Richard Mawrey QC warns, easy voting is fraudulent voting.
Mr. Mawrey was speaking at a seminar held at Parliament House, Sydney, on Thursday 25 February, organised by the H S Chapman Society and co-hosted by ACM.
Sitting with the powers of a High Court judge, Mr. Mawrey investigated two important cases where electoral fraud was suspected.
In what he said would disgrace a banana republic, he found six Labour councillors guilty of electoral fraud in the British 2004 Birmingham Council election.
This made news not only in the UK, but around the world.
In a splendidly bipartisan approach, he subsequently found that Conservative councillors had engaged in fraud in the Slough Council election.
…warning coming true?…
Now it seems that voter fraud could determine the outcome of the British general election as evidence emerges of massive postal vote rigging, according to a report in the Daily Mail on 4 May, 2010 by Sam Greenhill and Tim Shipman, “Postal vote fraud: 50 criminal inquiries nationwide amid fears bogus voters could swing election.”
They say that British police have launched 50 criminal inquiries nationwide amid widespread cases of electoral rolls being packed with ‘bogus’ voters. Officials report a flood of postal vote applications in marginal seats in what is expected to be the closest election in a generation.
Anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell told the Mail: ‘There is actually a possibility that the result of the election could be decided by electoral fraud. That’s pretty grim.'
‘We are facing a situation where we can no longer trust the integrity of our electoral system. It was a huge mistake to extend the postal vote. It opened up our system to all kinds of frauds.’
Mr Richard Mawrey makes exactly the same point- and he has had the advantage of seeing how both sides have engaged in fraud.
I asked him about the theme some politicians use – that voting must be made easier. He says there is no evidence that people will not vote if they are interested. The suspicion must be that politicians who argue this way either have an ulterior motive, or they are naive.
…eighteen voters in a 1 bedroom flat…. but the tenants don't know them….
Out of a total estimated electorate of 46 million, 7million have registered for postal votes. The reporters say that Labour supporters stand accused of packing the electoral roll at the last minute with relatives living overseas or simply inventing phantom voters.
Officials in Tower Hamlets received 5,166 new registrations just before the April 20 deadline, and there has been no time to check them all.
The reporters says they went to a one four-bedroom flat in the area where 18 men are apparently claiming a vote, all of whom registered within the past month. But the students living there were baffled by many of the names said to be residing with them.
…eight strangers in a small flat – all unknown to the tenants…
Another resident was surprised to learn that eight complete strangers were also registered as living in the small flat she shares with her partner. Other addresses investigated by the Mail were linked to the Labour Party.
At a property in Rainhill Way, Bethnal Green, where Labour Party council election candidate Khales Uddin Ahmed lives with his family, seven adults have suddenly joined the electoral roll.
…why we must be concerned…
Electoral fraud has been a particular concern for ACM , both in the election for the 1998 Constitutional Convention and the 1999 referendum. The Convention election was wholly postal, and thus wide open to fraud from those well experinced in this.
The conclusion from Mr. Mawrey’s advice is that any future plebiscite and referendum held under the present system will involve a degree of electoral fraud. How much we do not know.
And of course, this potential for electoral fraud challenges the legitimacy of all our political institutions. Were we to allow such a potential for fraud with credit cards, would anyone seriously suggest that this would not attract fraudsters?
We must be vigilant whenever proposals are made to make voting even easier. We must also demand that the present incentives for fraud be removed or neutralised.
Why, for example, when we go to vote on election day and our name is ruled off, is it not automatically ruled off in every polling station? This could be achieved easily with modern technology.
That it is not done is supicious.