Going Election Postal In Tower HamletsMay 6, 2010
How much do I love Tower Hamlets right now?
We have Brick Lane! We have Victoria Park! We have Canary Wharf! And we have… vote fixing. Apparently. The police are currently investigating accusations of postal voting fraud in London and it appears that Tower Hamlets is top of the list.
There have been reports of so-called ‘ghost voters’ who have been registered on the electoral roll without the consent or knowledge of the people who live there. There have been allegations that some candidates and activists have offered to post ballots on behalf of vulnerable residents, or have ‘assisted’ residents in filling out the forms. The victims of this fraud have been some members of the Bangladeshi community who speak little English. In one instance, 18 postal votes were delivered to a house where only ten of the named people lived. In another, eight ‘ghost voters’ with Bangladeshi names were registered to a small flat where a non-Bangladeshi couple lived. The couple knew nothing about the extra ‘residents’ until they were contacted by a London paper. We seem to have form in this borough. In 2006, after the local elections, it transpired that 90 residents in a Limehouse block possibly had their votes stolen by fraudsters who applied for postal votes in their names and then got those papers redirected.
It’s truly wicked to use people in this way and it makes a mockery of an already fragile system. I’ve been so thoroughly hacked off by this that I seriously considered spoiling my ballot paper in protest, but I’ve been talked out of it. I will go out and vote, but I’ll always wonder if my new representative got there by fair means, or foul.