Tag Archives: postal voting

Opinion: The best type of electoral reform

As a young councillor in Manchester in 1999, I was often suspicious of a postal vote system that allowed people, who couldn’t make it to the ballot box to be able to vote by post.  It’s not that I wanted to curtail anyone’s democratic rights – it was just that I wanted to ensure the system was safe from electoral fraud.

Since 2001, here in the UK – you can vote by post without giving a reason.  ‘Bringing the ballot box to your doorstep’, argued some, ‘Putting the convenience back into politics’, said others.  Now, I’ve no problem with the elderly …

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Pendle investigates claims of postal vote fraud

News via the BBC:

The council’s chief executive Stephen Barnes had written a letter to the Electoral Commission last year, saying allegations and perceptions of malpractice around postal voting “are seriously undermining public confidence in the whole electoral process”.

In the letter, the council cited examples of probable malpractice and the difficulties in taking action…

The leader of the borough council’s Labour Group, Councillor Mohammad Iqbal, said his party had won seats from the Conservatives fairly, adding: “There isn’t a problem in Pendle”…

The panel, consisting of cross-party councillors and representatives, will gather evidence at five public hearings across the borough.

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

A trio of very welcome election law changes on the way

Postal ballot paper being postedThe Queen’s Speech mentioned a Bill to introduce individual electoral registration (see this post if you’re not sure why individual electoral registration is a good thing). It also made vague reference to other electoral administration reforms. Now I’ve read the proposed Bill and seen what they are, I’m rather pleased – as they include three things I’ve often raised in previous election law consultations and on this blog.

First, extending the timetable for Parliamentary by-elections. As I’ve written before about this

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Our broken electoral timetable – or why Andrew Neil is too late

Along with many activists from all political parties, yesterday I was out on the doorsteps campaigning for votes with a special emphasis on targeting postal voters. For me that involved trips to Streatham and Haringey, both places where – as is common across London – postal ballot papers have been hitting people’s doormats on Friday and Saturday.

Many postal voters fill in their ballot papers promptly, so by this evening a noticeable chunk of the London electorate will have cast their votes. The same is true in many other parts of …

Posted in Election law and Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

How were the Scottish elections run?

The Electoral Commission’s report into May’s Scottish elections is now out and broadly paints a positive picture of how the elections were administered.

As is often the case in such reports, it is the apparently obvious recommendations that highlight how something, somewhere took a rather unfortunate turn. In the case of this report, one such recommendation is tucked way unobtrusively in the middle of p.8:

Following any boundary reviews ROs and EROs must make thorough checks with the relevant Boundary Commission to ensure they are able to precisely identify the exact boundaries that are set out in legislation.

Indeed.

(700 people in Glasgow were sent poll cards telling them to vote in the wrong place.)

On the big issue in many people’s minds ahead of the elections, the report rightly brings good news. The 2007 Scottish elections were marked by controversy over the much higher proportion of rejected ballot papers than for previous Scottish Parliament elections.

This time, aided in part by the use of different ballot paperwork, the rejection rates fell right back down to levels last seen in 1999.

Looking to the future, the paper echoes the Electoral Commission report on the AV referendum when it comes to following up invalid postal votes and also promises a discussion paper on the thorny issue of when elections should be counted.

Scottish Parliament Elections Report – Electoral Commission

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Electoral administration lessons from the AV referendum: the Electoral Commission’s view

Last week, the Electoral Commission published its report into the administration of the May’s AV referendum. Despite the high political temperatures during the campaign, the administration got little criticism at the time and so the report rightly reflects that. However, amongst the details are some important pointers to issues that are likely to come up at future elections.

10pm cut-off for voting

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Better postal voter security amongst Government’s proposed changes to election law

This week the government has put three new changes to election law out for consultation:

  • Ending the automatic postponement of parish and community council elections in England and Wales that currently occurs when they fall on the same day as ordinary local government elections and either a Parliamentary or European Parliamentary general election.
  • Mandate 100% checking of the personal identifiers for postal votes at elections (comparing the signatures and date of birth given when a postal vote is cast against the originals on file from the postal vote application). Although 100% is often recommended and done, the law only requires a

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 8 Comments
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