Monday, April 28, 2008

 

Voting System Open to Subversion Says Rowntree Report

When most constituencies are 'safe seats' and the number of voters in swing constituencies who win or lose elections is numbered as low as 8000, the question of the security of voting from malpractices has to be a concern. The report by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust into voting today, therefore, makes uncomfortable reading. In 2004 a judge quashed two local elections ihn consequence of widespread postal voting cheating. Moreover, during the last seven years there have been 42 cases of electoral fraud.

The report, by Stuart Weeks-Heeg of Liverpool University, also argues that:

1. The benefits to turn-out claimed for postal and electronic voting have been exaggerated.

2. Ministerial 'quick fixes' to improve turnout have reesulted in ther system b eing made easier to cheat.

3. The system is vulnerable to party spending in marginal constitruencies where there is:

"substantial evidence to suggest that money can have a powerful impact on the outcome of general elections, particularly where targeted at marginal constituencies over sustained periods of time,".

The report urgews that photo ID be required for all voters and that campaign spending at the local level should be capped.

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