The incidence of vote fraud in the UK is vanishingly small.
This post Brexit government seems remarkably keen to solve microscopic and even non existent problems. The incidence of vote fraud in the UK is vanishingly small. Very effective UK legislation to tackle vote fraud is already in place. QED Vote fraud does not need new legislation.
However imposing “voter ID” is highly likely to have undesirable, oppressive and discriminatory effects and our UK government and our MP know this. Because making it harder to vote suppresses the vote in groups which find things hard anyway.
But there would be no harm in raising voter awareness of vote fraud. Vote fraud can and has been effectively detected and prosecuted: here in Peterborough and elsewhere. In fact, anybody taking part in the electoral process can spot vote fraud and report it (as long as they know what to look out for). Moreover it is already a statutory responsibility of the police to protect our democratic systems. If you witness vote fraud while it is actually happening, call the police on 999. If you’ve seen it in the past, report it online. It is a crime, like any other. If our MP is aware of instances which have not been detected, reported and prosecuted, perhaps he could explain what advice he gave those who witnessed a crime and what the police did with all those reports?
If my MP believes that the incidence of what he believes is a problem is statistically higher than extremely rare in the UK or if a vote fraud has ever been shown to have influenced the result of an election, perhaps he or our new Police and Crime Commissioner could produce the evidence? Evidence of crime can overturn an election result in the UK, which is exactly as it should be. But while not having enough evidence to substantiate your case can be expensive when an accusation goes to court (as happened after Peterborough’s own 2019 by election) wasting his constituents’ time is not chargeable to our MP and even more unfortunately (given the urgency of what needs doing in parliament) no offence of wasting parliamentary time has yet been put on the statute book. Perhaps it should be?
Vote Fraud, Vote Rigging, and other Electoral Offences: The council says:
Electoral fraud is an illegal interference with the process of an election.
What is it?
Acts of fraud tend to involve affecting vote counts to bring about a desired election outcome, whether by increasing the vote share of the favoured candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. There are many different types of electoral fraud including:
Misrecording of votes
Misuse of postal or proxy votes
Destruction or invalidation of ballot papers
What can I do?
There are simple steps you can take in order to prevent yourself falling prey to electoral fraud:
Keep polling cards and postal ballots safe at home , not allowing others to handle them at any time
If you arrive at the polling station and someone has voted in your name, notify the Presiding Officer. They will provide you with a tendered ballot allowing you to vote
When filling in postal ballots, do so alone. Do not allow anyone else to see you choice or cast it on your behalf
Put postal ballots into the envelope and seal it yourself
Under no circumstances give your postal ballot to anyone else before the envelope is sealed
If anyone tries to help you against your will or force you to give them your postal vote, contact the police
Please help ensure Peterborough voters are free to vote the way they want and have their intentions truly represented in the electoral process. Help spread the word: download and print electoral fraud poster 1 (sorry it isn’t beautiful, please send in your or a fresh or newer version!)
So, since several people have asked for a breakdown, here are my gleanings from the Spectators Gallery:
CON Arculus, Nick ABSTAIN West
CON Casey, Graham ABSTAIN Orton Longueville
CON Lee, Matthew ABSTAIN Fletton
CON Maqbool, Yasmeen ABSTAIN West
CON Simons, George ABSTAIN Paston
CON Sanders, David name heard but unable to hear response Eye & Thorney
CON Allen, Sue name not heard Orton Waterville
CON Cereste Marco name not heard Stanground Central
CON McKean, Dale name not heard Eye & Thorney
CON Walsh, Irene name not heard Stanground Central
CON Dalton, Matthew NOT VOTING West
CON Day, Sue NOT VOTING Paston
CON Elsey, Gavin NOT VOTING Orton Waterville
CON Fitzgerald, Wayne NOT VOTING Bretton North
CON Goodwin, Janet NOT VOTING Orton Longueville
CON Harper, Chris NOT VOTING Stanground East
CON Hiller, Peter NOT VOTING Northborough
CON Holdich, John (OBE) NOT VOTING Ghinton & Wittering
CON Kreling, Pam NOT VOTING Park
CON Lamb, Diane NOT VOTING Glinton & Wittering
CON Nadeem, Mohammed NOT VOTING Central
CON Nawaz, Gul NOT VOTING Ravensthorpe
CON North, Nigel NOT VOTING Orton with Hampton
CON Peach, John NOT VOTING Park
CON Rush, Brian NOT VOTING Stanground Central
CON Scott, Sheila NOT VOTING Orton with Hampton
CON Seaton, David NOT VOTING Orton with Hampton
CON Serluca, Lucia NOT VOTING Fletton
CON Stokes, June NOT VOTING Orton Waterville
CON Thacker, Paula NOT VOTING Werrington South
CON Todd, Marion NOT VOTING East
CON Over, David NOT VOTING Barnack
LAB Forbes, Lisa FOR Orton Longueville
LAB Jamil, Mohammed FOR Central
LAB Johnson, Jo FOR East
LAB Khan, Nazim (MBE) FOR Central
LAB Knowles, John FOR Paston
LAB Martin, Stuart FOR Bretton North
LAB Shabbir, Nabil FOR East
LAB Shearman, John FOR Park
LAB Thulbourn, Nick FOR Fletton & Woodston
LAB Murphy, Ed FOR Ravensthorpe
LAB Sylvester, Ann FOR Bretton North
LD Fower, Darren FOR Werrington South
LD Sandford, Nick FOR Walton
LD Shaheed, Asif FOR Walton
LD Davidson, Julia name heard but unable to hear response Werrington South
PIF Miners, Adrian declared interest, so unable to vote Dogsthorpe
PIF Ash, Christopher FOR Dogsthorpe PIF Fletcher, Michael FOR Bretton South
PIF Fox, John FOR Werrington North
PIF Fox, Judith FOR Werrington North
PIF Harrington, David FOR Newborough
PIF Saltmarsh, Christabel FOR Dogsthorpe
PIF Sharp, Keith FOR North
PIF Swift, Charles (OBE) FOR “but confused” North
PIF Lane, Stephen name not heard Werrington North
I found it very difficult indeed to pick up the voices of the Conservative councillors last night. It was a very muffled vote. I was unaware that “NOT VOTING” was an available option. I wonder whether or not the Conservatives on the council understand what “ABSTAIN” means? If they do, then why did they choose to say “NOT VOTING”? The Chair announced that 23 people voted FOR and that 29 people abstained and that nobody voted against the motion.
I haven’t caught everyone’s response so I know there are errors and some omissions in this list. Please feel free to correct or explain these if you can (comments are open). The sound system available to councillors is so bad that many struggle to make it work properly. People in a meeting may feel confident to signal their vote to the chair, especially if their views are already very well known.
According to the newspaper “a motion to defer closing the centres so that alternative proposals can be considered was carried following a vote and the issue will now be decided at the next meeting of the council’s cabinet.” But the motion, as I understand it, was proposed by Cllr John Shearman (LAB) and he made a point, immediately prior to the vote, that the motion was to “recommend that Cabinet defer any decision until alternative proposals are proposed, considered and consulted on.”
Well done Peterborough’s opposition. Last night “spectators” had the pleasure of witnessing over a quarter of Peterborough’s councillors actually holding the executive to account. I have never seen this before.