Tower Hamlets: Labour activist investigated over postal vote fraud

From the Evening Standard:

Police are investigating allegations of postal vote fraud by a London activist linked to one of Labour’s highest-profile parliamentary candidates.

The Met is examining an email in which Anisur Rahman, a Labour branch secretary in Tower Hamlets, admits “helping” a dozen voters fill in postal vote forms for the European elections.

Mr Rahman then told Rushanara Ali, who will become Britain’s first Bangladeshi MP if she is elected in Bethnal Green and Bow, that he was encouraging other activists to do likewise “for the benefit of the party”.

Electoral Commission guidelines ban activists from helping voters to fill in ballot papers, to prevent vulnerable voters being duped into voting for the activist’s preferred choice.

You can read the full story here.

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  • Malcolm Todd 8th Sep '09 - 10:05am

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always thought the postal vote push was a horrendous backward step from secret balloting, in the quest of an increased turnout that may be more illusory than real and in any case comes at too high a price.

    I don’t doubt for a moment that the practices described here aren’t confined to the Labour party. And it’s not just a matter of party manipulation. We’ve created a system whereby controlling and/or violent individuals (mostly men, no doubt) can coerce family members (or a relatively closed community) or simply do their voting for them in a way that simply isn’t possible in a polling booth.

    We should row right back to where we were before, when it was hard to get a postal vote.

    As far as improving turnout goes, I tend to favour running an election over several days – say Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday – but I accept that would create a whole different set of security issues.

  • Andrew Suffield 8th Sep '09 - 10:12am

    I was never all that persuaded by the “increased turnout” thing anyway… if people don’t care enough to go to a polling station, then they probably don’t care enough to make an informed choice either.

  • Terry Gilbert 8th Sep '09 - 5:20pm

    Absolutely. And, because I CAN be bothered, I deserve to be a higher proportion of the total vote! 🙂

  • Speaking as somebody with a disabled partner who would be unable to vote if not for postal voting (unless I took polling day off work to assist her), I’d like to call for an end to narrow-minded calls for an end to postal voting!

    There are many people, be they disabled or elderly or whatever, who have keen political minds and take an interest in the world around them. Are they to be disenfranchised because of fears of fraud?

    I’m sure somebody is about to suggest a “middle way” of having postal votes for registered disabled people, or people over 60 or something. Do you really want the State to have the power over who does or does not vote in elections? It took my partner several years to actually get registered as a disabled person, after her first application for Disability Living Allowance was discarded unread. She certainly would not have been able to vote for the Lib Dems in the last few years’ local and European elections if this requirement were made.

  • william dennison 28th Apr '10 - 3:56am

    Tower Hamlets Council ask my Wife and I if we would like to vote through the post. Like fools we said “YES”, we received so called Ballot papers recently and although I received 3 Ballot Papers,;
    1. is a referendum concerning public voting for the Mayor
    2. List of candidates who wish to be Councillors
    3. Parliamentary Candidate Ballot Paper

    My Wife Received only 2 Ballot Papers
    1. Is a referendum concerning public voting for the Mayor
    2. List of candidates who wish to be Councillors
    3………………………………….NOTHING, No Parliamentary Candidate Ballot Paper , SO WHERE IS IT ?????

    Tried phoning Election Office at 14:35 PM and heard an answewring machine that says, ” Our Office hours are 08:30 to 05:30. Leave a message and we may phone back”.

    How Many other Tower Hamlet residents chose Vote via the Post and yet DID NOT receive a Ballot Paper for Parliamentary Candidate ??????. We informed all three Parties about this and you can see how this Dangerous – Vote Via The Post – idea really Stinks. If my Wife does not receive the awaited Ballot Paper for the M.P. She wishes to vote for, then No one in our local area or our whole Family intend to Vote. Deny 1 and they have denied Many….. So much for Modern Technology
    Bill Dennison

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