Just How Much Vote-Rigging Fraud Was There In The Peterborough Byelection?

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This could be a rather interesting little event here. A known vote rigger – someone who actually spent time in jail for having done it – seems to have been central to Labour’s campaign in the Peterborough byelection. You know, the one they won by just over 600 votes?

No, we can’t go around just insisting that British elections don’t feature that sort of thing. We’ve the example here of just that in this place in previous elections. And we’ve also got that example of Rahman in Tower Hamlets, don’t we?

Nigel Farage lashed out today after independent observers warned Labour’s Peterborough by-election win was worthy of corrupt ex-Soviet state Kazakhstan. The Brexit Party leader told MailOnline the constituency looked like ‘another rotten borough’ after his candidate was narrowly defeated earlier this month. Election experts Democracy Volunteers have said the sight of people photographing their completed ballot papers was something they had only ever seen in Kazakhstan ‘many years ago’.

Much as I like Nigel – declaration, I used to work for him – and back the Brexit Party, that could just be the normal sort of complaint. But this from the Sunday Times is a bit more:

A notorious vote-rigger jailed for forging postal votes played a far greater role in Labour’s narrow by-election victory in Peterborough this month than the party has admitted. Tariq Mahmood, 51, a numberplate salesman and former taxi company owner who received a 15-month sentence for his part in a “systematic campaign of electoral fraud” in 2008, had denied involvement in the campaign to elect Lisa Forbes 10 days ago.

Hmm, yes.

Labour won the by-election by just 683 votes out of an overall turnout of 33,920. About 28% of votes (9,498) were postal votes, higher than the 2017 general election figure of 24% and the national average of 21.6%. The number of rejected postal ballots rose from 379 to 400. The Central Ward in which Mahmood campaigned had the greatest proportion of postal votes issued in the constituency. There are no figures on how many were returned or for which party.

We have seen electoral fraud in this country. We need to guard against it too. The question is, how much examination of this is there going to be? Given that it was the Brexit Party pipped there my assumption is not enough investigation.

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Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

And there is the claim by a Labour Party activist, made on Facebook, that he and two others burned 1000 Brexit ballots.

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

We imported people who were used to elections where

fraud which would disgrace a “banana republic”

was the norm. What did we expect? In fact, this was the explicit purpose of Labour bringing them in.

Question is why the Tories haven’t done anything about it (yet).

Bob McPenguin
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Bob McPenguin

What Tories? Haven’t seen any since the early 90s. There’s just the Fast Socialists and the Slow Socialists.

Trumpton
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Trumpton

The whole campaign has been the brainchild of a Tory, Jay Beecher, in Peterborough who used to be UKIP but made loads of claims about loads of people in that party and got kicked out. He wrote a free book on the claims.

I asked him on his far right Politicalite twitter feed what evidence he had of fraud as he was asking people for money. He didn’t have any and then blocked me, lol.

The man is a fantasist.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

There *are* figures for how many postal ballots are returned, just as there are figures for how many ballots came out of the ballot boxs. It’s called the turnout. For instance, this is the turnout in Scarborough for the EU election, a standard document publishd by returning officers. What there is *not*, and is impossible without being physically present at the count and observing everything, is a count of how many voted for which candidate in each box (with ‘postals’ being another box), as that’s not how they are counted (to the dismay of election nerds). Once the total number… Read more »

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

I don’t know if Tim’s been at an election count in his time with UKIP, but for the other readers here: election observers at the count can get an estimate of party share in various boxes, but only by dashing around the hall making hurried scribbles watching the few samples you manage to see. For instance at the EU count each party had three observers, and there were six tables, with six counters on each table. When the officer calls “Box 27, 376 ballots” and empties the box on the table in front of you, you make as many scribbles… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

The fundamental problem with absentee ballots (whether postal or via the Internet) is that secrecy is inevitably lost. No-one can bribe or coerce my vote, because they have no way of knowing how I actually voted. But with postal or Internet votes, anyone could be looking over my shoulder as I do the deed.

This is why postal votes must be restricted to those physically housebound, or genuinely away on holiday or for business.

Pat
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Pat

Postal votes should be scrapped entirely. Instead allow early voting under normal conditions, and provide transport for the housebound. If someone is away for more than three weeks allow in person voting at British Consulates.
One thing that would help enormously would be if electoral staff, especially those in senior positions were recruited from outside the district and moved every few years. Because criminal conspiracies arise amongst people who know each other, not amongst strangers- too much risk of being reported.

Climan
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Climan

The person looking over the shoulder is probably the “head” of large households, in some cases that person will complete all the ballot papers.