“Postal voting on demand is lethal to the democratic process. Wholesale electoral fraud is both easy and profitable.” That statement sounds like a description of Afghan electoral practices, but it was delivered by Richard Mawrey QC after an inquest into UK postal voting.
The Orange Party blog has an intriguing post about the sudden surge in postal ballots for the finally convened Glasgow North East by-election. Now, the Orange Blog may be being mischievous or merely preposterous, but it suggests that fraud could be a factor. History shows that Labour benefit from postal voting, notably at the comfortable Glenrothes by-election victory last year, when every indication was that the SNP would overturn the majority. The Scotsman claims that over 6,000 people have registered for postal votes in Glasgow North East, which is 10 percent of eligible voters. (Surely not that many people can be bed ridden or in absentia, even in Glasgow North East?)
I doubt that anyone other than the Labour candidate could win this seat, where the memory of Michael Martin remains ever sweet; there is no point in any party cheating, especially Labour. That said, Richard Mawrey’s comments hold. Postal voting is open to fraud and has been abused on numerous occasions by a range of campaigns. The system is shambolic and needs to be reformed to ensure that only those who are incapacitated or unable to vote on the day receive a postal ballot.