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BS: Postal votes?

greg stephens 09 Jun 04 - 06:07 AM
el ted 09 Jun 04 - 06:18 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 09 Jun 04 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 09 Jun 04 - 06:47 AM
greg stephens 09 Jun 04 - 07:18 AM
Jackie in the Green 09 Jun 04 - 07:28 AM
Mark Dowding 09 Jun 04 - 07:36 AM
Jackie in the Green 09 Jun 04 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Sarah 09 Jun 04 - 08:20 AM
Gareth 09 Jun 04 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 09 Jun 04 - 09:01 AM
Emma B 09 Jun 04 - 03:00 PM
Don Firth 09 Jun 04 - 03:31 PM
Strollin' Johnny 09 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 04 - 07:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 04 - 07:37 PM
Gareth 09 Jun 04 - 07:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 04 - 08:26 PM
open mike 10 Jun 04 - 12:54 AM
Joe Offer 10 Jun 04 - 01:26 AM
GUEST,KingBrilliant 10 Jun 04 - 11:08 AM
Emma B 10 Jun 04 - 08:34 PM
Amergin 10 Jun 04 - 08:39 PM
Hrothgar 11 Jun 04 - 07:54 AM
ard mhacha 11 Jun 04 - 09:23 AM
John MacKenzie 11 Jun 04 - 09:35 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 04 - 09:52 AM
rhoda horse 11 Jun 04 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Bagpuss 11 Jun 04 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Van 11 Jun 04 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,Sarah 11 Jun 04 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Yorkshire Lad 12 Jun 04 - 06:45 AM
greg stephens 12 Jun 04 - 06:52 AM
RichardP 12 Jun 04 - 10:14 AM

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Subject: BS: Postal votes?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 06:07 AM

They are trying out postal voting in some regions of England on Thursday. I am totally against it. I agree it should be available as a special thing if for some reason you can;'t go and vote, but I reckon we should keep things as they are, otherwise.
    The secret ballot is something our ancestors fought for,long hard and courageously. The great care taken (in the present system) to try as hard as possible to preserve this secrecy is a GOOD THING. You go in that booth with your paper and pencil, and there are people there legally obliged to make sure nobody is watching you. And no they are proposing postal votes all round, where there are no safeguards whatsoever against intimidation.
    What does anyone else think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: el ted
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 06:18 AM

Agreed. This week we received a postal ballot form for our house's LAST owner. It wouldn't be too hard for me to vote on his behalf without him knowing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 06:23 AM

i reckon its a load of shit and a big waste of money and paper.
It was on the news recently that The Royal Mail lost over 14 million letters last year, and delivered a similar number to the wrong address, [i often get letters for my neighbours].

I wonder how many votes will be lost in the post, and how many trees were cut down to send all this stuff out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 06:47 AM

It is a basic tenet of English democracy that the ballot is secret, the way in which the Postal Vote is verified allows anyone with access the to system to find out, should they wish, which way anyone has voted. Furthermore I do not think the postal vote will improve the number of votes cast, I have heard many people say that the form ended up in the round file marked B for bin


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:18 AM

In fact, with the current balloting system, it is technically possible to follow the paper trail and find out how someone voted. But only by due legal process, to pursue enquiries into electoral fraud or whatever. My objection to the postal vote is it transfers voting from a private ballot booth to people's homes,where people can nick the papers, stand over their wife or husband as they vote, whatever, you name it: no semblance of a secret ballot any more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Jackie in the Green
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:28 AM

This attempt at postal voting has been a complete farce. I heard on the radio yesterday that the people responsible for sending out the ballot papers blame the post office for not delivering about four thousand of them, and the post office say they have haven't recieved them. So who's telling the truth? New ballot papers are having to be delivered by hand, and 'Emergency' ballot boxes are having to be provided for all those who haven't recieved anything at all. Plus many candidates are threatening legal challenges to the results because of this cock up. The words piss up and brewery spring to mind!


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:36 AM

How many people got their voting forms, looked at the palava they had to go through with signing declarations of identity, getting it witnessed, putting voting forms into envelope B(or was it A) putting the declaration form and envelope B into envelope A making sure that the barcode was showing and the address was visible (not forgetting to actually make a couple of crosses on the forms where applicable) and then traipse off to the post box where even then you're not certain that the votes will be delivered and if you have made a mistake by not having your identity declaration signed properly your vote will be declared void and thought "Balls to this".

At least at the voting booth you put a cross on the form and put the form in the ballot box then go to the pub.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Jackie in the Green
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:52 AM

I think I'll miss out the put a cross on the form and put the form in the ballot box part and just go down the pub. Politicians are all the bloody same anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:20 AM

I can help a little here as I work for a local council, currently administering an all-out postal vote. Incidentally, we would not have chosen to run a postal vote as the old system is much easier.

I disagree about it being not secret. Here is what our elections officer has said about the barcoding which seems to be the source of a lot of angst:

"The barcodes are on the back of the ballot papers as a security measure. The barcode is used to scan, through the window of the envelope, the unopened ballot papers back into our software. If we were then to receive a fraudulent ballot paper e.g. a photocopy, the software would inform us that we had already received a ballot paper with that barcode and an investigation would then take place.
I can assure all electors that their vote is anonymous. When the envelope is opened, in secure conditions, the declaration with the voter's signature is separated from the smaller envelope which contains the ballot papers. The declarations are removed and stored separately before the ballot paper envelopes are opened. Once the ballot papers are removed they are stored in secure accommodation in sealed ballot boxes until the count."

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Gareth
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:00 AM

Havng just spent the morning at the Caerphilly "Postal Vote" opening I can assure all concerned that (unfortunatley) the checking was done without the candidates and agents being able to see what the actuall ballots were.- Dammmnm !

Gareth - Ah well back out on to the streets.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:01 AM

Sarah

When I posted my ballot papers last night I put an envelope with my name and address on it together with another enveople with my choice of candidates in the post, that means that someone somewhere could if they so choose access my selection. Under the old system no-one could determine how I voted, (as someone who has had their phone tapped) I object to the change in voting system that could allow my private choices to be accessed by a third party


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Emma B
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:00 PM

Well I'm one of the ones whose form got "lost" in the post, I was a little miffed about being so cavalierly disenfranchised but yesterday was notified (by hand delivered letter) that there will be an emergency ballot box available in the local pub all day - so best of both worlds I guess!
My partner, who did receive his form, refuses to put it in the post as several important letters he posted recently have never arrived at their destination.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:31 PM

The system works well here (Seattle). Being in a wheelchair, I vote absentee ballot to save myself standing in line at the polls. I receive the ballot in the mail about two weeks before the election. If I don't receive it by then, I make a phone call and I receive one within two days. I used to mail it in, but lately I give it to my wife, who does go to the polls to vote. She hands it to the two precinct committee persons (one from each of the two major parties; they work together and are able to keep an eye on each other), they note my signature on the outer envelop, check the list to see if I'm a registered voter, tick my name to indicate that I have voted, then remove the sealed inner envelop (no signature—anonymous), and put it in the box to be counted with the other ballots. The only thing they can tell about my ballot is that because it is in a sealed envelop, it's an absentee ballot. No sweat.

By the way, if I were to mail the ballot in, they would look at the outer envelop, check my signature in the same book listing all registered voters that precinct, so if I tried to vote twice by calling for another ballot when I had already receive one, they would catch it and I could be in a bit of trouble.

I trust this system a whole lot more than the idea of touch-screen computer voting with no paper trail.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM

What seems wrong to me is that they've taken away the option to vote at a polling station - it's vote by post or not at all. I'm all for people who WANT to vote by post being able to do it that way, but I'd prefer to vote at a polling station, the 'old-fashioned' way. Seems to me they should grant us the option, not just present us with a postal fait accompli.

I've cast my postal vote, but I'm rather uncomfortable with it.

J :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:27 PM

I agree with many of the previous comments, and feel reassured by them - I particularly feel the same as Strollin' Johnny ... I'd prefer the old fashioned way. At least I'd like to be offered the choice. Quite bad really you have to vote by post or not atall when you really think about it.

Also have cast my vote and feel uneasy about it. It sort of feels "unreal" this time. I don't know. I just think the attempt to overcome voter apathy is compromised too much now. Ironically, most ordinary people don't even want to use the postal vote what with the postal problems and complicated instructions, (news coverage this evening). Thousands of people have literacy or ESOL problems on top of it all.
Sorry to sound negative - I did vote - but, I think it's been a bad call this time. Will politicians ever really listen to people's opinions?
Katy


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:37 PM

I disagree about it being not secret.

How can it be secret when you might have a domineering or violent family member standing over you, making sure you vote the right way? That just wouldn't be possible in a traditional polling station.

There's too much junk mail anyway. I know I'd be far less likely to vote if they introduced this system down our way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Gareth
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:46 PM

Mmmm ! And from the days Kevin, when you were actively involved in the election process how often did you get the responses

1/. I'll have to ask me husband/boyfriend.

2/. I can't vote till me husband gets home

Sorry I've had No 1 above twice this afternoon !!!!!!

BTW Couples going into the booth together is still quite commen.

Gareth

Vote Early - Vote Often !!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:26 PM

What someone tells their husband wife or employer about how they are going to vote for is one thing. But once inside the polling booth thye don't have to stick to it.

And I'm pretty sure that couples squeezing into the polling booth together is against the rules, even if they are only voting, ubless there are special circumstances. If it happens as a matter of course, it means the people in charge of the polling station are failing to carry out their job.

This seems a remarkably silly bit of constitutional jiggery-pokery. There is no reason to believe that the reason people are failing to vote is because it is suddenly much harder for them to get along to a polling station than it used to be.

Just think how everyone in England laughed about that ridiculous business in Florida, when they couldn't even run a straightforward fair election. This one is going to make Florida look competent at running elections.

If the Tories had pulled this rabbit out of a hat you can guarantee Labour would be pledged to reverse it, and getting votes on the strength of that. (Of course that doesn't mean they necessarily would when it came to the point - but that's New Labour for you...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: open mike
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 12:54 AM

In these days of hanging chads and other inconguities including voting machines--computers, I have heard those who advocate sending in those
absentee ballots as a way to make sure your vote is cast using a paper ballot, which is traceable. If the info from a computer is lost, there is no way to do a re-count. I live in a rural area, and the technology is sort of backwards here, so we still use paper ballots, but I fear the day when they are eliminated. I would rather trust the post office than a computer with my vote!


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:26 AM

We had an election yesterday to decide a $49-per-year tax for the local fire district - that was the only issue on the ballot, and only 2,100 people voted (6635 were registered). Seems to me to be an awful waste, to run a special election for one measure. At the same time, there's a mail balloting going on for the local mosquite abatement district. That seems like a better way to handle small elections.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,KingBrilliant
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 11:08 AM

My mum says her vote is "between me and the bollock bats" - no coercion there then.......

Kris


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Emma B
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 08:34 PM

Well - went to the "temporary" polling station in the car park of the village pub along with half a dozen other people who, although unlike me, had actually received a "voting pack" but refused to consign it to the somewhat unreliable care of the ex-Consignia.
Locally, at least, it appears to have been a very ineffective and expensive (to ratepayers ie - me) experiment - in other areas a minefield of potential, and probable, corruption.
At least there were so many (unrecognisable mostly) parties that at least I did not have to call a "plague on both their houses"


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Amergin
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 08:39 PM

Here in Oregon the ballots are soley by mail in absentee ballots....I don't mind it at all...if I don't feel like paying the postage i drop it off at the courthouse...and there are no long lines...and it encourages more people to vote...


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:54 AM

We've had postal voting in Oz for donkey's years. Haven't heard any complaints.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:23 AM

No amount of vote rigging would have made any difference as Blair`s Party was wiped out in the Local Elections.
To finish third to the Liberal Democrats was utter humilation, this was a protest vote against the invasion of Iraq..
While Blair remains at the helm his Party will suffer further set-backs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:35 AM

Voting should be compulsory.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:52 AM

Well my main reason for using my postal vote was to make sure that the BNP and their ilk didn't take advantage of a low turnout.

I would support compulsory voting, but only if there were a "none of the above" option. I think the major parties would be pretty embarrassed by the number of people who would endorse that option if given the chance. Perhaps thats why they resist the idea so strongly...?

*It doesn't matter who you vote for. The government always gets in*


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: rhoda horse
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:57 AM

I am a Centaur from Greek Mythology and am therefore ineligible to vote.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Bagpuss
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 10:04 AM

You think it's easy for a saggy old cloth cat to get on the electoral register? I had to get Professor Yaffle to pull a lot of strings (well the mice did the actual pulling of course...)

*And when Bagpuss goes to sleep, all his friends go to sleep too...*


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Van
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:14 PM

I don't agree with postal votes. If you can't be bothered to vote at a polling station should you be given the opportunity to vote from home on a "Big Brother" eviction basis. Fair enough the old system where those interested enough could choose this system. I voted at the local polling station; my wife chose not to vote, if she had had a postal vote what would have stopped me using her ballot paper? any neighbour would have certified her paper had I asked them. My daughter and her husband did not receive their ballot papers although they are sure that they are registered to vote. Were the papers not issued, did they get delivered else where, did someone else use them? Shit system we are better off turning up and voting at a polling booth. It may be old fashioned but it works. God help us if Blair brings in voting by phone, text, or internet which are all possibillities under consideration. Also who scrutinises the count. As an occassional election agent I have had to challenge how votes have been counted. I can stand and watch the count and see when errors are made. there is no possibility to do this when the vote is being done by post or electronically.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:33 PM

I got press-ganged into spending Thursday afternoon verifying a huge number of postal votes in advance of the count which took place today.

The way that worked was: all the envelopes (B) were slit by machine and then distributed to the verifiers. We then had to retrieve the witness statement and ensure it was signed and everything filled in. Then we had to check the bar code on it with the bar code facing out of the window on envelope A (the one with the ballot in it). If everything matched OK envelope A was retrieved by the officials and taken to the slitting machine and then redistributed. Only then were the ballot papers removed - face down - and the European paper separated from the local election one. These were formed into separate piles and counted into bundles of 50 and handed in for counting today (Friday). There was no way that anyone could have told who had voted for what because the two stages were entirely separate.

Anything that looked irregular was put in the reject box to be looked over thoroughly by the supervisors.

It seems to have been a very successful exercise as my authority's turnout was an average of 50% - it has been in the low 30s up till now. Some wards were in the high 50s. I think the turnout would have been higher if the signature system wasn't required, but presumably would have been harder to cut out the possibility of fraud.


I do wonder how many other ballots the post office will 'disappear' because they didn't sort or deliver them in time!

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: GUEST,Yorkshire Lad
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 06:45 AM

As forecast by most people in Britain, Blair did take a hell of a beating in the Council Elections and also he will not be eager to see the outcome of to-morrows results in the European Election.
The Iraq war will haunt him to the grave, what a blunder he made by siding with the greed-merchants in America, for the sake of a once proud Party it is time Blair took a back seat otherwise they will struggle to win in the next Election.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 06:52 AM

Well that was a very thought-provoking piece about postal votes, Yorkshire Lad. But I'm not quite clear whether to mark you down as a "yes" or "no".


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Subject: RE: BS: Postal votes?
From: RichardP
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 10:14 AM

Take note of Sarah's posting above. Those secure procedures have been practiced for nearly a century and are well proven. The only innovation is the use of barcodes to introduce an added check that the ballot paper and the declaration were sent to the same person, which may catch some attemmpts at fraud, which would not have been caught in the past.

Note also the early mention in the thrad that it has always been possible to establish how an individual has voted in the past by matching the number written down in the register next to your name with the number on the back of the ballot paper. The protection was (and is) that the registers are sealed together and the papers are also sealed together in a separate package. These can then only be opened as a result of a court order.

For decades one has heard allegations of some occurrences of every illegal practice referred to this week. The number of occurrences were very few, impossible to confirm and I can recall no instance in my experience where there was any suspicion that they could have altered a result. There have been some serious allegations this week of fraud on a scale never previously alleged. I for one will be delighted if the police are able to bring some prosecutions. However, those allegations are very isolated in an atmosphere where the press and parties were desperate to find and make capital out of fraud allegations.

On the whole the all postal ballot has increased the turnout by about a tenth of the electorate or about a third of the actual voters. That is good but too little increase to be very good. It has on the other hand given the Government a lot of bad publicity, which is not good for them and it is doubtful that the extent of the increase in the poll is sufficient for even the government to regard it as a valuable or successful experiment.

Richard


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