Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Dr Stephen Pathmarajah (POS 34)

Submitted to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Committee

  Please find the following response to the invitation to comment on the proposed postal voting. The response is presented in the same order as the inquiry document.

  The proposed postal voting opens up new avenues and increases the risk of electoral fraud considerably high for the following reasons.

Postal voting system
Existing system

Electoral fraud

Delivery of postal ballet paper cannot be guaranteed. Not all the voters would check and request ballet papers. The delivery of voting cards in some area are delivered by contract door to door delivery people instead of Royal Mail. If the delivery people are party biased then they could ignore a whole street or selected housed. Should that happen then the voters would not have a change to vote.
The voting card is not mandatory as the voters could go to the polling booth and present them selves to be checked and gain the privilege of voting.

Similarly there is no guarantee that even the Royal mail could guarantee 100% delivery. Any such failure would directly limit the people to cast their voting.
As mentioned above the invitation to vote "the voting" card is not mandatory for an individual to cast their vote.

Similarly loss of filled ballet paper in the post either designed or accident cannot be guaranteed. Any such loss of ballet papers are not traceable
The risk of losing the ballet paper in this system is minimum. Further more it is traceable and officials can be held accountable for the delivery of all filled ballet papers.

Parents and dement people in the house could influence other voters. They could even intimidate them.
Regardless of any intimidation each individual is free to cast his or her vote in total secrecy.

In a family where there are dominant partners particularly considering the number of domestic violence particularly by one partner on other there is no guarantee that the dominant partner would collect all the ballet papers and vote for the house hold.
As mentioned above each individual is free to cast his or her vote in total secrecy without any interference.

Community leaders and in some strong churches such as JW or Plymouth Brethren it is totally feasible for the elders to request the ballet papers to be submitted to the church elders or community leaders for to decide it on behalf of the church.
As mentioned above each individual is free to cast his or her vote in total secrecy without any interference

It is also feasible that the above mentioned leaders could ask their members to attend the decision making meeting with the ballet paper and discuss the candidates and expect all members to vote in a communal basis thus taking away the freedom for a democratic voting right.
As mentioned above each individual is free to cast his or her vote in total secrecy without any interference

There is no guarantee that postal ballet papers could not be reproduced and strategically over vote in the hope the system will not pick it up. For the system to pick up the legitimate voter should have voted and the copy vote had to be detected.Considering only 25% votes then the changes of catching a copy voting is only 1/4. Even if they are detected then how to determine the legitimate voting.
This apply to this only on a limited basis as some one could go to the polling booth and declare them selves as Mr A N Other and vote for that person.
Public perceptions

On the face of it, it may appear that the public are given the opportunity to vote and made the voting system easily accessible. In fact considering the pitfalls and the possibility for voter manipulations any positive perceptions may be misplaced.
This does not apply to existing system.

Impact on turnout

It is perceived to be high; there is no real evidence to proof. Those areas who claim higher turnout could have been subjected to large scale voting papers collected by community leaders or election candidates and voted in behalf of the people or copy ballet paper being used. There is no evidence or test to test the integrity of the system.Note, If required methods of testing accuracy of voting can be provided. Since the invitation to comment does not include this it is not presented.

Administration and cost

No comments as no information on costing of either system is available.

Access and disability issues

No comment

Voter choice

Voter choice is limited for the reasons given for Electoral fraud given above.

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