Figures released by Cardiff Council have revealed a further massive increase in postal votes in the General Election in the constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth – which was held for Labour by incumbent MP Stephen Doughty.
The total of voters in the constituency applying for a postal vote in the constituency was higher than ever before – 14,380.
Of those who received the paperwork , a total of 11,992 actually submitted their votes by post – comprising 7,777 voters in the Cardiff South section of the constituency and a further 4,215 who live in the Penarth sector of the constituency.
Postal voting represented 23.591% of all votes cast in the constituency.
There is no way of telling for which candidates postal voters actually cast their votes – but of all the parties it was certainly Labour who did the most to encourage people to vote by opost rather than in person at their polling stations.
In the last five years the abnormally high levels of posting voting in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency has become a matter of increasing concern given the ease with which the criminal offence of “personation” (voting fraud) can be carried out.
- In the 2015 General Election in Cardiff South and Penarth, out of a total of 46,667 votes which were cast, 10,798 votes were postal – comprising 23.14% of the total and 1,144 up on postal votes cast in 2015
- .In the 2012 Parliamentary By Election in Cardiff South and Penarth, (in which Labour candidate Stephen Doughty was first elected) there was an extraordinary surge in postal voting. Out of a total of 19,571 votes which were cast, 6,936 of them were postal votes – comprising 35.68% of the total.
- In the 2010 General Election in Cardiff South and Penarth, out of a total of 44,369 votes which were cast 10,430 of them were postal votes – comprising 23.5% of the total.
All the Postal Voting figures for Cardiff South and Penarth since 2010 are unusually high compared with the normal national percentage of postal votes across the UK as a whole, which the – Electoral Commission says – was, in 2010, just 15% .
There are increasing concerns about the growing incidence of postal votes . The Electoral Commission, which oversees elections in the UK, says “There is a consistent level of concern among voters about electoral fraud in the UK. These concerns are shared by a broad range of people with experience of standing for election or running elections, and it is unlikely that these concerns will diminish in the immediate future.”
The Electoral Commission says “Under the current Great Britain system of household electoral registration there is no effective mechanism for verifying the identity of people applying to register to vote. Fictitious electoral register entries may be created“.
The Commission also admits that as Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) do not currently hold records of every elector’s personal identifiers (such as date of birth) .
The commission also concedes there is no direct verification that an application to vote by post has been made by the elector themselves.
The commission says “removing the act of voting from the protected public space of a polling station, people who have been sent postal ballot packs may be more vulnerable to undue influence, intimidation, harassment or pressure to vote in a particular way”
Deputy High Court Judge Richard Mawrey, who tries cases of electoral fraud, has found there are 14 different ways in which postal votes can be manipulated and says postal voting makes the electoral system “open to fraud on a scale that will make election rigging a possibility and indeed in some areas a probability”.
In the 2015 General Election, UKIP had made a manifesto pledge to restrict the issuing of postal votes to “those voters who have a valid reason to have one”.