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Postal Voting

Under the original system of the secret ballot you could only fill out your vote in a secure polling booth in a private cubicle and yours are the only pair of hands to handle it before your put it in the ballot box. This secret ballot system made voting fraud more difficult:

  • by candidates

  • electoral officials

  • political party workers

  • rogue voters.

This original system of the secret ballot could no longer protect your vote 100% once postal votes became votes of convenience and not proven need.

Why postal voting does not protect your vote:

  • You do not fill out or handle in secret and post it yourself

  • It will pass through up to 12 pairs of hands in the post

  • It can be delayed in the post until after polling day

  • It can be opened in transit, and spoiled

  • It can be in danger from corrupt scrutiny by adverse officials

  • It is more in danger in a 'marginal' seat

  • You can be pressured if infirm, old, sick or migrant

  • You have no guarantee they ever go into a ballot box

  • The ballot papers can be copied illegally for false names.

Postal voting is an open door to fraud.

100% postal voting in union elections has notoriously created an open door, hence a happy hunting ground for voting manipulation and fraud. 100% failure to enforce the letter of the law in parliamentary elections - no reason, no postal vote - has subverted the principle of the secret ballot.

Viz. seats, especially marginals should be decided by a secret ballot.

Failure to enforce the postal voting law in parliamentary elections is due to:

  • Belief that electoral fraud does not represent a problem

  • Failure to understand how such fraud is committed

  • Inadequacy of the means to police the system

  • Fear of authorities that proof of fraud would rebound on them

  • Inadequate staffing to do the necessary checking.

This failure means postal voting is now effectively postal voting on demand.

Failure to believe that electoral fraud represents a problem

This failure has been famously exposed in the Judgement of 4th April, 2005 by Election Commissioner, Richard Mawrey QC, in a local government election in 2 wards of Birmingham Council, United Kingdom, on 10th June 2004.

'All political parties welcome and supported postal voting on demand. Until very recently no one has treated electoral fraud as presenting a problem... the tendency of politicians of all Parties has been to dismiss these warnings as scaremongering.

'In the course of preparing my judgement, my attention was drawn to what I am told is an official government statement about postal voting which I hope I quote correctly, "There are no proposals to change the rules governing election procedures for the next election, including those for postal voting. The systems already in place to deal with the allegations of electoral fraud are clearly working.

'Anybody who has sat through the case I have just tried and listened to evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic, would find this statement surprising. To assert that: 'The systems already in place to deal with the allegations of electoral fraud are clearly working' indicates a state not simply of complacency but of denial.

'The systems to deal with fraud are not working well. They are not working badly. The fact is there are no systems to deal realistically with fraud and there never have been. Until there are fraud will continue unabated (Judgement 'Fraud at the Elections, p.35).'

Does this powerful judgement have implications for Australia? Yes.

Commissioner Mawrey QC found that postal voting fraud in the Bordesley Green and Aston Wards of the Birmingham City Council had been committed by the Labour Party candidates by 14 different means.

This was only discovered because the rival Liberal Democratic candidates had carried out a thorough investigation before, not after, voting day.

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