Brian Monteith: Showing ID a smart move that will curb voter fraud : The Scotsman


Being able to vote in an election, to choose the people that decide the laws by which we should abide, or who commit us to war or set the taxes that we must pay is a right that our forebears have made great sacrifices to procure and protect. It is a solemn undertaking when we exercise our vote, one that we should treat in all seriousness, for we are not just casting a ballot on behalf of ourselves, but also in the knowledge that our choice may impact irrevocably on others.

It is, therefore, important that the ballot is, in every respect, beyond reproach; that we know it has not been tampered with and could not have been subverted to the benefit of any one candidate or a party’s candidates. Seeking to skew an election is not an easy task and while the aftermath of British elections has on occasion led to isolated examples of accusations about individuals or certain groups exploiting seeming weaknesses in our procedures, instances of malpractice or deliberate cunning that have led to prosecutions are, thankfully, rare.

Following the last General Election concerns were raised that young students were encouraged to cast their votes twice by voting once from their home address and again using a second term-time address. To do so would have been illegal, and while the police investigated some 70 specific reports in the end only one successful prosecution was brought against Mohammed Zain Qureshi. He had voted twice from his home address by registering two different versions of his name and thus obtaining two polling cards.

Nevertheless it is not as if we have not had difficulties with personation or double voting before. For decades the joke that in Northern Ireland voters were encouraged to “vote early, and vote often” by using the names of dead relatives that might still be on the electoral roll was believed to have some substance. In 2002 a Northern Ireland opinion survey showed 66 per cent believed “electoral fraud is very common in some areas” whilst 64 per cent thought in some areas it was “enough to change the election results”.

After the Labour government passed its Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act in 2002 – requiring voters to present photographic proof of identity – comparative surveys of returning officers in 2001 and 2003 indicated the percentage who reported seeing people vote more than once had decreased from 3 per cent to 0.1 per cent. Those experiencing being turned away because someone had already voted in their name declined from 4 per cent to 1 per cent and those presented with documents they suspected to be forgeries declined from 3 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

Source: Brian Monteith: Showing ID a smart move that will curb voter fraud : The Scotsman

One thought on “Brian Monteith: Showing ID a smart move that will curb voter fraud : The Scotsman

  1. There are factors in support of voter ID and factors against.

    Is there proof of substantial voter fraud and if not, why should this be on the agenda. Would any authority go to the expense of bringing legislation to combat voter fraud if there was no substantial proof that there is any.

    There will now be trials taking place in 5 boroughs in the forthcoming Council elections in May. We have now not got long for this to occur.

    But what will be the outcomes. Will it show a marked reduction in turnout and if so would this prove there was voter fraud in previous elections. Or could it be that people do not want to go to the lengths to provide proof to obtain ID. Could it be if there is a reduction in turnout that this will include people who do not have the proof to obtain the ID available.

    Not all the population will have valid passports or even photo driving licences, as there will be some, myself included that still has their old paper licence from years ago and I also do not have a valid passport.

    You could say that other evidence could be produced say a collection of bills and other official letters that carry a person’s name and address, but yet again there will be persons who also do not have these. This could include persons who are elderly in whose partners name these bills will be in. However, they could have letters with regards to their pension or in respect of persons with disabilities their benefit letters. But then you have the DWP in the guise of ESA and PIP who are removing people from these benefits, so goes the last of the evidence.

    But then there is the scheme that allows the opportunity to apply for a free special identity paper that can be presented at the polling station.

    How will the population, at large, be advised of these procedures should the trial become a reality and will there be a section or sections of the population that will not progress to even start the progress due to the time and effort the process requires.

    Will not the few who wish to conduct voter fraud just create the required items of proof and still proceed with voter fraud.

    For no apparent voter fraud is this process really necessary and is it purely to prevent some some limited voter fraud or are there other reasons, could it be some process to remove voting rights from some sections of the UK population.

    Liked by 1 person

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