Wednesday, 17 March 2010

There were two envelopes

in the post yesterday. Both of them were from the Electoral Commission. (My father misread the address for a split second and said, "Electrical Commission".) One was addressed to my father and one was addressed to me. Inside there were sheets of paper with something called an "easy voting card" printed in the corner.
Apparently it is going to be easier to vote with this card. I am not sure how. Does it magically read minds?
Since this is something new I will assume that, instead of lining up and getting your name manually crossed off the role, the production of the "easy voting card" means it will be taken from you in return for the ballot papers. It will be 'proof' of your attendance at the ballot box.
It may be designed to reduce election fraud - or it may be designed to increase it.
Election fraud does exist in Australia. I once had to appear in front of a Senae Committee and explain the problems with respect to people with disabilities. It was clear that they were not impressed as I explained how easy it is to vote for someone else, to vote multiple times or use the vote of a person who should not be on the electoral roll because they do not have the capacity to vote. We do not have identity cards in Australia - yet. We do not require people to dip a finger into indelible ink.
In the course of my own inquiries into the difficulties some people have with our electoral system I came across a care worker who had voted no less than sixteen times - on behalf of the clients in his care. Had he asked them and abided by their choices? No. He had simply used their vote to further the candidate of his choice. I came across illiterate migrants who had permitted union representatives to vote for them. They believed they had to do that and that they did not have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice. I came across people with intellectual disabilities who did not understand the process at all and whose concept of 'choice' was so limited that there was some quesiton as to whether they should have been permitted to participate in the process at all.
You do not need the 'easy voting card' in order to vote. No doubt this is so people cannot say, "I did not get one." If you hand the card in, as I assume you must, then there is still nothing at all to stop you voting again or someone else voting in your name. Yes, there may be a cross check of the electoral roll but it will not solve the problems which will arise.
Given the 'compulsory' nature of voting - the demand we attend the ballot box - then we need better safeguards, much better safeguards. We could start by demanding that those who do not have their 'easy voting cards' produce photo ID of some form. We could even use indelible ink.
The fraud perpetuated may or may not make a difference to the final outcome but it is still fraud and it still needs to be eliminated as far as possible. We do, after all, claim to be a democracy.


Rachel Fenton said...

"care worker who had voted no less than sixteen times - on behalf of the clients in his care. Had he asked them and abided by their choices? No. He had simply used their vote to further the candidate of his choice"


catdownunder said...

He boasted about it. When it was reported they said there was no proof and nothing could be done. It is my view that people who need assistance to vote should receive that assistance from someone employed by the Electoral Commission...ban all family, friends, careworkers etc.

Frances said...

Ignoring his clients choices or wishes shows that he was not suitable to be a care worker. He should be sacked.

Tony said...

Isn't politics brilliant!

If you force people to do something they don't want to do, you must put up with the consequences (and let's face it, many people in Australia would care very little if elections were rigged anyway).

catdownunder said...

Truly brilliant Tony - I am not sure how they manage it. At the moment I would even believe that elections are rigged - how else do we manage to vote in such idiots?

He still has a job Frances - along with a lot of other unsuitable care workers.

Holly said...

and another government improvement for your inconvenience and confusion....

you can't regulate common sense, and you certainly can not cure stupid.

catdownunder said...

Holly, you cynic!