President Trump accuses the Democrats of electoral fraud. The Democrats swear blind they would never do such a thing. In the immortal words of Mandy Rice Davies looking at both claims, ‘They would say that wouldn’t they.’ History may eventually sift the truth of it, then again it might not.
But for any who think these ‘shenanigans’ could never happen here, one only has to look at Peterborough, Birmingham, Bradford and West Yorkshire.
The 2004 Peterborough election vote rigging scandal eventually saw justice in 2008, when Raja Akhtar, the Conservative Mayor of Peterborough, was sentenced to three months in jail for electoral fraud, at Norwich Crown Court. These were not the only convictions for fraud in the 2004 election. Labour party members, including a former mayor Mohammed Choudhary, candidate Maqbool Hussein and a party official Tariq Mahmood were also jailed in 2008.
They were caught as part of ‘Operation Hooper’, launched by Cambridgeshire police after residents turning up at the ballot box to vote were turned away after being told their vote had already been cast. The investigation revealed that the men had tampered with postal voting forms, sending ballot papers to away addresses where they were hijacked. Peterborough Telegraph 10 October 2008
Similarly, the Birmingham Post reported similar shenanigans in 2014:
“Ten years on from the postal vote fraud scandal which saw Birmingham’s political system likened to a ‘banana republic’ an MP says he is sure there is still election fraud today.
The city council election on June 10, 2004 was perhaps the darkest day in Birmingham’s political history as it marred by vote rigging on an industrial scale which left trust in the electoral system shattered.
“High Court Judge Richard Mawrey QC, presiding over the election court, famously declared the fraud “would disgrace a banana republic,” after his election court found there was a campaign by Labour Party activists to forge, steal, and alter thousands of postal votes.”
The extent of fraud was uncovered when police found candidates and supporters handling unsealed postal ballots in a deserted warehouse in Birch Road East, Aston during a late-night raid two days before the election.
A further clue, perhaps, was when the number of postal votes rocketed from 28,000 in 2003 to 70,000 in 2004 – and witnesses saw people delivering bags full of ballot papers to polling stations and counts.
Tower Hamlets in 2015 also saw widespread postal fraud along with voter intimidation. Perhaps as a result, Tower Hamlets now implements tough election security. Both the Evening Standard and The Docklands and East London Advertiser reported how in 2019 anti-fraud officers equipped with body-worn cameras were deployed at polling stations when voting began. Nine officers were also stationed at the count in the town hall and a new photographic entry system was put in place to stop anyone who should not be there entering. The fact that such measures were needed bears witness to the previous corruption.
But this was the mere tip of the iceberg. In 2017 the Yorkshire Post reported the findings of the Electoral Commission:
‘More election fraud claims in Bradford and Huddersfield than London and West Midlands combined.
‘NEARLY one in five alleged cases of British election fraud last year was recorded in West Yorkshire - with Bradford, Keighley and Huddersfield emerging as 'high risk’ areas…’
Perhaps the strongest motive for electoral fraud is the arrogance of those who know what's best for ‘the people,’ whether, as in the C19th, the conviction that property owners possessed a wisdom that ordinary people lacked or the present belief, in some quarters, that ‘ideology’ or any one particular party should determine the outcome of an election. The Chartists fought for one man one vote, not one man two hundred votes whether it be a local aristocrat or via the more modern phenomenon of corrupt postal voting.
It’s not my place to speak for America. Republicans and Democrats can speak for themselves, and should they hesitate the media will do it for them. I’m speaking about Britain where our voting system clearly needs to be tightened.
Voting should be done in person with proper ID and, if necessary, over two days.
Mail voting should be restricted to the sick, housebound or those out of the country, and then under much stricter conditions with proper ID and signed by them— not dubious proxies.
And finally, whatever happens, we should never go down the cyber route via the click of a mouse. Convenient for the voter, and convenient for those who control the technology. I don’t want my vote controlled by Google or Government or any extra-state power who may get involved—including in the future any benevolent A. I. knowing what’s best for us. Pencil and pen or expect further shenanigans.
Michael Keyton has now left the pulpit.