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Editorial

Editorial – who is checking for eligibility to vote in the coming referendum?

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It is well known that in the past there has been widespread Electoral Fraud in Britain mainly because of the iniquitous ‘Postal Vote’ system that allows, in many cases, a postal vote for people who are not even resident in this Country.  It also allows though that are not entitled by reason of non-Citizenship to vote in a General Election.  The whole Electoral system is flawed because Local Authorities rely entirely on the integrity of the person who fills out the Electoral Forms sent to each household and that they declare, simply by means of a ‘tick box’ on the form, that the people listed are legally entitled to vote in elections.  There is no check at all whether the person purporting to vote is even resident in this Country.

Given the Government’s desire to stay in the European Union, they are unlikely to take any steps to alleviate this problem.  Certainly, the Electoral Commission who are supposed to be neutral in this matter are Government Appointees that will do nothing to jeopardize their positions by confronting the Government.  In 2010, Just after the General Election, many of us that voted in the General Election suddenly found that we no longer lived in the Constituency that we voted in and found ourselves ‘represented’ by an MP who thousands had not been given the opportunity to vote for or against.  The ludicrous situation had occurred that Boundary Changes were allowed immediately AFTER a General Election.  Yet, what was heard from the Electoral Commission about this obvious breach of democracy?  The answer is;  nothing; zero; zilch; nada.  Further, though David Cameron was quite blatantly in breach of the rules for Government neutrality by sending out the recent mailshot, barely a whimper was heard from the Electoral Commission.

The truth is; we cannot rely on the integrity of any Government Department in giving us a fair and open referendum.

Electoral Fraud in this Country is becoming reminiscent of ‘Banana Republics’ yet our politicians do nothing about it because it suits them that it should be so.  It keeps them in power no matter what cost to democracy.  Actually, in many cases, it is WORSE than a Banana Republic because those that vote in their elections have to appear in person and to prevent duplication of votes, the voters have an indelible stamp or the hair is shaved from the back of the hand so that it is easily recognised that they have already voted.  How does that compare with Britain where applications for postal voting have been completed months before and that the applicant was neither entitled to vote as a non-resident and had left the Country months before the election and yet, their vote is still counted because the only check is an electronic comparison of the signature on their application for postal vote and their postal voting form which can easily be forwarded from another Country.

From personal experience when standing as a Local Councillor and asking the question of the Electoral Officers; ‘what checks are made on the eligibility of those on registered to vote on the Electoral Form are legitimate?’  The quite candid answer was ‘none. other than accepting the integrity of the person who had ticked the checkbox on the Electoral Form that those listed were entitled to vote’.  That, quite simply, is preposterous.

It is indeed onerous that this should occur in Local and General elections but for it to be allowed to occur in a ‘once in a lifetime’ vote in the EU Referendum is way beyond the pale.  Yet, the Government are entirely complicit in these affairs.

The only recourse that we have is to publicly embarrass those that are employed to oversee elections in our individual Local Authorities.  I have produced below a specimen email that we should all send to the Freedom of Information Act Officers in each of our Local Authorities where we live.

To:  Insert the email address of your local FOI Officer which you can obtain from the LA telephone operator.

cc:

bcc:

Subject:    Voter eligibility for the coming referendum on 23rd June, 2016


 

In my experience of local and General Elections, I have been led to believe by Electoral Officers of (insert name of Local Authority) that no specific tests of eligibility to vote are carried out other than the tick box on the Electoral Registration Form which relies entirely on the integrity of the single person submitting the form to the Council.

 

The eligibility criteria for the upcoming referendum on whether we stay in the EU or not are much stricter in that only Registered Voters restricted to British Citizens, Southern Irish Citizens resident in this Country, Commonwealth Citizens resident in this Country and ‘Ex-pats’ who have been listed on an Electoral Roll in this Country within the last 15 years are eligible to vote in the referendum
Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, I wish to know what particular steps the Electoral Returning Officer is taking to ensure that only the proscribed criteria for those eligible to vote in the referendum are followed.
This electronic mail is in compliance with the requirements of the Act.  I would remind the Officer responsible that this inquiry must be answered within 20 working days of the date stamp of this communication.

Signed:  Your name and email address.

If your local Freedom of Information Act Officer should receive hundreds of enquiries on this matter, he or she cannot possibly ignore them.

Please, it will take only a few minutes of your time to copy the text to an email but it may go a long way to stopping the referendum being hi-jacked by so many that will do their best to ruin the referendum.  Also, copy this article to all of your acquaintances on Facebook and Twitter.  We cannot let the Government take advantage of a flawed system to our detriment.

 

Peter Brown.

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