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Casting and counting votes

The polling system whereby voters put a cross by the name of a candidate, put their paper anonymously in a box, and then saw their votes counted has served Britain well for centuries. A change was introduced in the last century to allow postal voting to accommodate those people who for one reason or another were out of town on polling day.

The BBC reported today that in some parts of the country enormous numbers of people now vote by post. Postal voting has always been prone to corruption, as you can imagine. This has now been recognised by the Electoral Commission and others. In some largely Muslim areas, the BBC has reported that the system appears to be completely corrupted. It is likely to become more so when online voting is used in local elections tomorrow.

In times past the election was announced the same night, usually in the small hours. Because of the attempts to verify postal votes, this year the excitement of the middle of the night announcement will no longer occur. The count will not start until the morning after the election. Previously, the boxes were rushed from the polling stations to the counting stations, and there was no possibility of interfering with the votes. Now, with overnight storage, there are additional possibilities for corruption.

No business that threw out tried-and-true methods for uncertain or corrupt new ones, would survive. Why do we allow the government to do this? These measures cast a shadow on our local and national elections, and remove the certainty that our votes really count. No wonder turn-out is low.

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