Friday, August 12, 2016

Fair votes for everyone

Nobody, whatever their race or creed, should interfere with the ability of each voter to decide how to case his or her vote and do so in secret.

Every voter, regardless of their sex, age, their beliefs or the colour of their skin, should be able to make up their own mind how to vote and avail themselves of the secret ballot if they so wish.

Everyone must abide by the same electoral law.

Sir Eric Pickles was asked by the last Prime minister to lead a review into whether we have a problem with electoral fraud, and his review has now reported.

The Pickles review has made over 50 different recommendations to strengthen British democracy and stop election fraud.

It recommends that
* We should ban the handling of postal ballot papers by political activists to stop “vote harvesting”.
* We should require some form of ID to vote at polling stations – it is ridiculous that it is harder to take out a council library book than to pick up a council ballot paper.
* There should be stronger police powers to tackle intimidation outside polling stations and to set up 'cordons sanitaires’ around them to prevent bullying of voters.
* We should consider a new role for the National Crime Agency to tackle complex election fraud cases, especially those linked to other forms of crime and corruption.

Sir Eric said that

"The long-delayed implementation of individual electoral registration will do a lot to help tackle fraud. But we need tougher checks to prevent the electoral register being used for immigration and benefit fraud. However, we should make it easier for foreign nationals officially residing in Britain to get access to consumer credit, through a voluntary register of residency managed by councils, so they don’t lose out from not being on the electoral register."

Where there is a problem it happens across the political spectrum, We should not be afraid to take action to protect the integrity of the ballot, whoever may have tried to subvert it. 

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