Sunday, 21 March 2010

Electoral fraud does exist

in Australia.
Remember those lovely "Easy Voting Cards" that were supposed to make voting faster? They did not. Most people around me at the polling station could not see any point in them at all. You still lined up like sheep. You were herded to an electoral official. S/he took the 'card' and looked your name up. You were then asked to give your name and your address. It was ruled off and the card was returned to you along with the ballot papers.
You could of course be anybody at all. You just need to be able to recite the name and address on the card. If you forgot the card you just had to recite a name and address. Easy. The only thing you need to ensure is that you do not give the name and address of someone who has had their name ruled off by that particular electoral official.
How often this happens is impossible to know. The Electoral Commission will probably say it does not occur. Why would anyone else want to vote in your name? The answers to that are apparently obvious to everyone except the Electoral Commission. Perhaps it does not occur very often but it occurred at least once yesterday.
The conversation went something like this,
"Have you voted yet?"
"Did it just after they opened."
"What about Mum and Dad?"
"Jan and I voted for them."
"Voted for them?!"
"It was easy. We just took those cards with us. We voted at the school and then we went down to the church hall and did theirs. Saved a lot of hassle."
As simple as that. I wish I had been in possession of a spy like video-recorder to record what was going on behind me. Their actions probably did not influence the outcome of the election but the casualness with which this law breaking was announced left me feeling more than a little uneasy.
It also made me very aware of just how easy it would be to manipulate the results if you were determined enough.

7 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

But does it go on to such an extent that a result is invalid?

Holly said...

Not even a request for a picture ID of any kind? I can't believe that (even without a national ID card) that 80% of adults couldn't be able to produce a driver's license.

This kind of fraud might not affect a national election, but it certainly could raise havoc on the local level by anyone with incentive and determination.

catdownunder said...

Actually Donna almost certainly yes in a very tight election. There is one seat here with about 40 votes difference at the moment. If there were 16-18 polling booths in an electorate (about the maximum) it would take just 2 people to go around them voting for elderly, disabled or even dead candidates to push a candidate over the line. They could get around the lot. It happens. Voting twice also occurs and is usually put down to clerical error - along with a host of other little ways to rort the system - and a member of the Electoral Commission once admitted to me that there were major issues in some areas "but I will deny I said it if you repeat it".
And no Holly - no need to show ID at all. So easy to vote for someone else it is unbelievable. It does raise havoc at local level.

Rachel Fenton said...

I was about to suggest that you become a politician, Cat - but there's a really obvious reason why you shouldn't - you're too honest!

catdownunder said...

Become a politician Rachel? My worst nightmare!

Theresa said...

Am I to understand that one doesn't have to sign into a book to vote as we do in the state of Minnesota?
Picture ID's are not required to vote but the voter must sign a statement that they really are who they say they are and a person can be prosecuted for perjury if they sign the voter book with a name other than their own.

catdownunder said...

No book to sign Theresa. No ID to show. You just turn up. You could be anyone at all!!!!!