Tuesday, 27 December 2016

"Electoral fraud: Voters will have to show ID in pilot scheme"

From the BBC:

Voters will have to show proof of identity in a government pilot scheme to reduce electoral fraud.

Some councils in England, including Birmingham and Bradford, will trial the scheme at local elections in 2018. Constitution minister Chris Skidmore said the pilot would "ensure the integrity of our electoral system".

Fair enough, but actual fraudulent voting at the ballot box is negligible, it would require real nerves and you'd have to gamble on the person whose vote you are stealing not having already voted.

The real big frauds all relate to postal voting, they ought to tighten up on that and they've fixed 90% of fraudulent voting…

There will also be reforms to improve the security of the postal ballot system, such as requiring postal voters to re-apply every three years.

In other words, they are not taking this seriously at all. I suppose there are two kinds of postal voter, the disabled and people who happen to be going away at the time of the election. Seeing as ballot cards are sent out a couple of weeks before an election, couldn't we just ask those people to use their ballot cards in advance, the disabled can drop them off at their GP or something else convenient for them and those who are going to travel can vote early at the nearest town hall?


Kj said...

Don't see the big problem, as you say, why don't let town hall clerks, postal clerks and any official/half-official employee take the ballot before the election. Our system is like that, you can drop by the town hall several weeks in advance, and you don't need any ballot-cards, but you do need an ID. The whole thing about calling ID-requirements oppressive to "disenfranchised" people is bollocks, and more of the same paternalism that is reproducing class society. What they are saying is that certain people can't get their act together to get an ID. The tiny, tiny minority who can't do this will have to be helped no matter what.

DBC Reed said...

Agree with Kj. As suggested, we should look at systems in other countries and cherry pick best .
What does need reform is the mechanism that allows checking on how you vote: a very simple procedure, the polling clerk enters your polling number on the left hand stub of a cheque book-like arrangement and tears off the counterfoil for you to vote on.Both parts carry the same identifying number. So any "suspect" vote can be traced back to the relevant stub book.
It many be simplest to issue a national identity card, less contentious now that so many are keen on "control". It might be small price to pay for a proper secret ballot.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, thanks, so it works.

DBC, you missed the point.

1. There is relatively little in person voting fraud anyway.

2. The article doesn't say what counts as ID, it needn't be as strict as passport or driving licence, anything official with your name on should do IMHO, bollocks to national identity cards.

3. It is postal voting where the big massive frauds happen.

DBC Reed said...

The point I'm making is that I would support any system that meant we could go into vote on slips without identification numbers on them: a secret ballot.National Identity Cards would make things very much easier in a Brexit world of insane suspicion of foreigners.See how the Beleavers like it.

Kj said...

MW: it's simple and efficient to having voting spread out over some time. Last election every fourth vote was done in advance of election day.

Bayard said...

When I heard about this, my first thought was that TPTB were obviously not prepared to admit yet that they were wrong to extend postal voting, so they are going for the classic tactic of solving a problem that isn't there to show that they are "doing something".

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, and what are fraud levels..?

B, that's another good point :-(