Changing the rules to win an Election…
The Conservatives know that they have very little chance of winning the next election, and even less of a chance of gaining seats from Scottish constituencies. So what do they do? They change the rules….
Changes to Constituency Boundaries
Changing the boundaries in certain constituencies can alter the whole political demographic of a region, especially if a strong conservative constituency is merged with a marginal one.
Introducing Laws that require voters to produce photo ID
According to the Electoral Commission, Personation (imitating someone else) accounted for only 5 of the complaints received by the police for election fraud in 2018, so why is the government so keen to press ahead with this type of election reform.
Evidence shows that forcing voters to bring photographic ID to the polling station makes it harder for people to vote, in the trials held south of the border a third of those turned away at polling stations did not return to cast their vote. Many of the poorest in society do not have Passports or Driving Licenses so introducing a law that requires photo ID will have an impact on turnout in areas with high unemployment and low pay, giving the conservatives an advantage, especially in marginal constituencies.
If new legislation is introduced ahead of a snap election there will be little or no time available for those who do not possess adequate photo ID to acquire it.
The latest figures showed that 3.5 million people do not have access to photo ID and 11 million do not have a passport or driving licence, which makes mandatory voter ID with no provision to provide this free to voters, a barrier for many people wanting to exercise their right to vote.
As this has already been trialled south of the border, my understanding is that no further legislation would be required to implement further trials in other constituencies…
Merging Polling Stations
Plans in some constituencies to remove polling stations or merge them with neighbouring towns or villages will again impact the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Many older people may not have the means to travel out of their village to vote and someone on a low income or benefits may not be able to afford to travel in order to vote, so again this proposal is aimed at targeting the most vulnerable in our society. This proposal forces many to turn to the postal voting system which in my opinion is what the government wants us to do.
Changes to the way Postal Votes are Handled
Introducing voting ID and merging polling stations will force many to use postal votes and the way postal ballots are presently handled will make this already flawed system even more vulnerable to fraud. We have already seen postal votes going astray, allegations of harvesting and tampering as well as a growing number of ghost voters which has led to an increased distrust amongst voters in the whole postal voting system.
Postal voting on demand, however many safeguards you build into it, is wide open to fraud…Richard Mawrey QC
The law needs to be changed to immediately suspend results allowing time for fraudulent cases to be checked and decisions by returning officers to be reversed. There also needs to be new laws introduced to hold the parties more accountable for election fraud including overspending, as fining them doesn’t seem to be that much of a deterrent.
Protecting Our Democratic Right to Vote
If the UK Government in Westminster introduces new legislation that requires voters to produce photo ID at polling stations, or extends its trials into other constituencies, then it must allow adequate time for voters to acquire it. The UK Government should also make voting ID cards available free of charge for those on a low income and those in receipt of benefits. More importantly, these need to be made available before any new trials or legislation is put into place…