Monday, 29 March 2010

The mystery of the multiple votes

may never be solved.
I am still puzzling over the headlines in the 'Tiser on Saturday. These suggested that one family had managed to vote 159 times. (The information apparently went in an anonymous letter to the Electoral Commission.)
My first reaction was that I had the date wrong. It was already April 1st. It was not. My second reaction was that the journalist meant something else. I read the article. He did not. My third reaction was that this would not be possible. It had to be a hoax.
I am now less sure it is a hoax. I put the question of how it might be done to a couple of politically savvy teenagers. (They belong to the youth wing of a political party.)
"Easy," they assured me and proceeeded to explain.
I will not be irresponsible enough to provide their explanation here. I do not agree that it would be easy. Possible? Yes.
The whole thing of course swings around the fact that you do not need ID to vote. You just turn up and vote. It is a major flaw in the electoral system. Although not stated the Easy Voting Cards provided at this election were perhaps intended to try and reduce the problem. If so, they failed dismally because the cards were not taken from the voters. I saw one lying on the ground outside the polling booth I attended. Later I saw two more outside the library. I disposed of all three in the nearest rubbish containers. Had I been criminally minded (and brave enough) I could perhaps have attempted to use them again...and again.
I was discussing this with Ms Whirlwind's father. There is likely to be more than one inquiry into the conduct of the election. It will keep the Electoral Commission, the Crown Solicitor's Office and others busy for quite a while. Whether the final outcome was influenced or not the election results have been tainted. The Opposition may well be the real winners in the end.
Ms Whirlwind however was puzzled. "Why would anyone want to vote more than once?" Her father explained. "But that's not fair. What if you got more votes than anyone else?" It's a good question.


Adelaide Dupont said...

First of all, it's good to hear and see from politically savvy teenagers, as to how such a thing could be conducted.

Second of all, good for Ms Whirlwind and her sense of social justice.

I have my own ideas as to how a family could get 159 votes.

It's called branch stacking.

catdownunder said...

Or, in this case, seat stacking!

Rachel Fenton said...

You should write a book about this - it might not be suitable for children but it would contain a lot of infantile characters no doubt!

catdownunder said... don't think I would be told that the plot was not believable?