John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, April 29, 2007
  Labour caught fiddling the voting system again
The linked story is one to Leeds where I knew there was postal vote fraud going on (but did not have evidence). Now we have evidence of the Labour Group Leader telling people to throw away Lib Dem votes (strictly flush away).

Labour have a history of electoral fraud in many large cities. Historically this involved personation (people pretending to be someone else). The idea of making people sign for their votes is a good idea because it allows the situation to be checked later. Sadly it does not pick up who is personating, but it does pick up the fact that personation occurs.

If people are elected through fraud and/or personation then an election petition can be raised. To lose an election petition is an expensive thing and also means that those people elected are banned from standing in the by-election caused.

This is caused "General Corruption" and it makes the assumption that the candidates and agents have a responsiblity for ensuring that their activists behave in a lawful manner - incidentally that does not mean throwing Lib Dem votes down the toilet - note Labour.

In Birmingham Labour have put Mohammed Afzal up for election again notwithstanding the fact that he was elected through general corruption previously.

The fact that the Court of Appeal decided that he had not had a fair trial on the allegations that he was in a particular warehouse "sorting out" postal votes (ie filling them in) does not mean that he was not responsible for failing to ensure that his fellow candidates and agents behaved lawfully.

He may claim that he had no knowledge that his party were committing electoral fraud on an "industrial scale". However, I would be surprised if people in the Labour Party generally were not aware of this. What the election court judgement said about his evidence was:
It would perhaps be kinder to draw a veil over Mr Afzal's attempts to explain his activities over the period between 10.00 pm on 8th June and 5.00 am on 9th June.

When questioned by Mr Sukul with some interventions from myself, Mr Afzal's evidence became wilder and wilder and less and less credible. Obvious lie followed obvious lie until even Mr Afzal realised that he was doing himself no favours.
481. The brutal fact is that he could not account satisfactorily for his movements on the night nor could he account for the telephone calls that had been disclosed by the records.

This is quoted in the Court of Appeal Judgment as well.

Labour have fiddled elections to some extent in Birmingham for decades. What they have done nationally is to make fraud easier. Oddly enough one of the more useful aspects of the changes to law (making people sign for their ballot papers) was found to be unworkable this time. This, however, needs to be done in the future.

The Labour Party's attitude to electoral fraud however has to be recognised in the fact that they have not expelled the 5 ex-councillors found personally responsible for election fiddling and they have allowed one of the people elected as a result of fraud to restand. That is not a "zero tolerance" approach to vote fraud.

Source Material:
executive_summary_of_judgment_bordesley_green_aston_ward.pdf
full_judgment_bordesley_green_aston_wards_election_10th_june_2004.pdf
Court of Appeal Afzal
 
Comments:
Hi I recieved a letter from my local conservative, saying "thankyou for voting for the last conservative candidate" , "can you vote for me etc" well I have not ever voted form this address so where did they get that I voted for this person. Or is this a standard letter, it came through the post. Did someone fill it in for me at the final count as I had not shown up, make you wounder.
 
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