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Election Petition Judgement : Birmingham 2004
Bordesley Green & Aston Wards (Labour fraud)

Afterword


  1. In this judgment I have set out at length what has clearly been shown to be the weakness of the current law relating to postal votes. As some parts of this judgment may be seen as critical of the Government, I wish to make it clear that the responsibility for the present unsatisfactory situation must be shared. All political parties welcomed and supported postal voting on demand. Until very recently, none has treated electoral fraud as representing a problem. Apart from the Electoral Commission, whose rĂ´le I have described above, the only voices raised against the laxity of the system have been in the media, in particular The Times newspaper, and the tendency of politicians of all Parties has been to dismiss these warnings as scaremongering.
  2. In the course of preparing my judgment, my attention was drawn to what I am told is an official Government statement about postal voting which I hope I quote correctly:
  3. There are no proposals to change the rules governing election procedures for the next election, including those for postal voting. The systems already in place to deal with the allegations of electoral fraud are clearly working.

  4. Anybody who has sat through the case I have just tried and listened to evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic would find this statement surprising. To assert that "The systems already in place to deal with the allegations of electoral fraud are clearly working" indicates a state not simply of complacency but of denial.
  5. The systems to deal with fraud are not working well. They are not working badly. The fact is that there are no systems to deal realistically with fraud and there never have been. Until there are, fraud will continue unabated.

  6. Richard B Mawrey, Q.C.



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