Saturday, April 09, 2005


Absentee-ballot fraud: A lesson unlearned

In England a Labor Party councillor, Muhammed Hussain, has just been sentenced to three years in jail for rigging votes. It was a simple scam.

His supporters went from house to house picking up uncompleted "postal vote forms"—what we would call in the U.S. "absentee ballots"—then filling them out and signing for both the voter and the witness.

According to Helen McCormack of The Independent,

The judge sentencing Muhammed Hussain, who defrauded 233 voters' postal ballot papers in a local election in Blackburn, Lancashire, said the system was "wide open to fraud".

His comments echoed those of a judge investigating allegations of electoral fraud in local elections in Birmingham, who earlier this week condemned the system as "hopelessly insecure".

After Hussain pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to conspiring to defraud the returning officer, the court heard that the postal voting system was flawed as there was no way of verifying the name and signatures on the ballot paper, and no way of verifying or checking the identity and signature of the alleged witness to the vote cast.

Now in the State of Florida, the Republican legislature has eliminated the latter problem, because they've eliminated the requirement for a witnessing signature on absentee ballots whatsoever.

If you want to throw an election, Florida is the place to come.

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