Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/19/postal_vote_fraud/

UK postal vote system 'not fit for purpose'

Lethal to democratic process

By John Oates

Posted in Government, 19th March 2008 13:41 GMT

The UK electoral system is not fit for purpose because it is too easy to create fake voter registrations.

Election commissioner Richard Mawrey QC made the comment as he described postal voting on demand as "lethal to the democratic process", and said the current system means "wholesale electoral fraud is both easy and profitable".

Mawrey was commenting as he found Tory councillor Eshaq Khan guilty of adding hundreds of fake names to the electoral register. Khan was banned from holding public office for five years and lost his Slough council seat.

Mr Mawrey, said: "There is no reason to suppose that this is an isolated incident. Roll-stuffing is childishly simple to commit and very difficult to detect. To ignore the probability that it is widespread, particularly in local elections, is a policy that even an ostrich would despise," according to the Times.

He said the only reason the fakery came to light was because of incompetence and the blatant nature of the fraud.

Extra checks on postal vote registration were included in the 2006 Electoral Administration Act, but Mawrey said the situation had in fact changed little.

The Electoral Commission supports fundamental reform of the UK's election laws, before it will even consider the possibility of innovations such as e-voting.®