back to article UK elections vulnerable to fraud - e-voting no solution

An investigation into the UK's electoral system has found serious failings with security ahead of London's Mayoral elections on Thursday. The Rowntree Reform Trust's report Purity of Elections in the UK: Causes for Concern highlighted weaknesses with postal voting and the inaccuracy of the electoral roll as the biggest threats …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a form of photo ID

    An ID Card! That's what we need!

    Perhaps with bio-metrics after all, anyone can fake a face.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    ElReg a bit London-centric.

    "...serious failings with security ahead of London's Mayoral elections on Thursday...."

    What about all the other elections country-wide Thursday? Are there no failings there, or did you just temporarily forget there's a whole rest of the country outside London?

  3. Dangermouse

    Sian is hot!

    That is all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    provide us with links to nude photos of the sian person and we'll be the judge of what's hot or not.

    Paris, cos I'd love to stuff her ballot.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    To the London elections...

    COME ON BORIS!!!! it'll be a hell of a laff for us northerners ;)

  6. Richard Kay

    A form of photo ID

    The problem with fraud over the last few years in the UK hasn't been with those bothered to turn out to vote or those counting, it has been with manipulation of postal ballots. Requiring photo ID will decrease turnout. In practice impersonation is a much bigger risk for those voting in person claiming to be someone else than doing this postally, given that the real voter is likely to attend later and object strongly if told they have already voted.

    If, where and when there are such complaints, it would make more sense to use discreet CCTV at polling stations affected next time around than put granny off from voting because she didn't renew her passport, uses one of those old driving licenses or never had a passport or driving license in the first place.

    So reverting postal voting to those who have a good reason for not being able to turn out in person is a more sensible approach to minimising fraud than requiring photo ID. In parts of Africa they use indelible ink on the fingers of those who have voted which takes more than a day to remove.

  7. MarmiteToast
    Thumb Down


    That's not all...

    Each borough is responsible for it's own security and there is no oversight. It would be very easy for the next Florida to be here in London with officials rigging the postal voting at a local level.

  8. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: To the London elections...

    >>COME ON BORIS!!!! it'll be a hell of a laff for us northerners ;)

    Why don't you come down here and say that?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    If London doesn't want him, I'm sure he will be welcome here in Brum. I would be interested to see just how many motorways he can build before the greens get him kicked out...

  10. Pierre

    @a Sarah and AC

    What with the come-ons now? Intercultural UK orgy waiting to happen?

    If so, need help?

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Because he's funny.

  12. Dangermouse

    @AC regarding Sian in the starkers...

    ...alas, cannot get those.

    However, she is here -

    Might well be a greeny, but definitely someone I would like to meet in a dark alley...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Photo ID?


    Don't have an ID card, can't vote.

    Yep, I think New Labour will like this report.

  14. michael


    so good I voted fro him twice

  15. michael


    so good I voted for him twice

  16. Ted Treen

    @You all

    It doesn't matter who you vote for;- the government ALWAYS gets in...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Because, no one can't be as bas ad comrade Ken.

  18. Simon Astbury

    Vote Capture System

    A not for profit e-voting system.

    power to the people.

  19. David Cornes


    Fraud, vote rigging, corruption?

    But surely WHOEVER wins the election(s), they're just different shades of the same lying cheating bent bastards anyway.

    There is a kind of irony in a honestly elected politician! :-D

  20. Jonathan Richards

    Disenfranchise NOW

    > Because, no one can't be as bas ad comrade Ken

    Oh FFS, please tell me you don't have a vote.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @AC regarding Sian in the starkers...

    I think I'll have to agree with the OP but of course we need the nude pics to properly validate that conclusion.

    Since she is a green can't we persuade her that wandering around in the buff is environmentally friendly since it reduces our raw materials requirements? Not taking advantage of Chinese child labour to boot?

  22. Steve

    Fraud no longer an issue

    At least not after I decided they're all useless parasites and just stopped voting.

    For local elections I'd only ever vote for the independent candidate as he's the only one who does anything outside of election time. For example, last year, our Conservative candidate was boasting about having got the Environment dept. to come and clean up some fly-tipping (1 bag) - ignoring the fact that there is a council hotline that anyone can phone and get the same service.

    It also pales in comparison to the independent candidates who go out litter picking once a week.

    Voting for politicians just encourages them.

  23. Vortigern

    Private voting

    The main problem with postal votes is that it's not private!

    There was always a discrepancy with people saying they are hardened labour supporters but voting tory when they got to the booth.

    If they are voting at home there's a chance their partners/other family might see it or ask to see it - yes, you can say "no, it's private" but then that might start an argument, so they vote labour and tick the rest of the families forms while their at it to make sure they don't put the "wrong" answer.

    ken's team are playing dirty - look at the thing today about saying boris would ban the koran so I wouldn't be suprised if they are going round to peoples houses and "supervising" the completion of forms or other such thing!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re Sian

    Alessandra Buonfino ( more my cup of tea.

    But enough of this degrading objectification of women, let's talk about policy.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Sian Hot?

    Well, maybe compared to Boris or Ken, and we want NO nude photos of any of them, please...

    Anyway, the masochists down south will re-elect comrade Ken, and the rest of us will have even fewer reasons to visit the place. TfL, Red Ken and Heathrow, what a wonderful welcome awaits the poor souls who'll be there for the 2012 Olympics. My bet is that the opening ceremony will be delayed to 2013...

  26. Danny Thompson

    UK elections vulnerable to fraud

    And this is supposed to be news? Zimbabwe has had fairer elections than we. It is no coincidence that our Gov is being very circumspect.

    I look forward to the day when once again there will be the heads of MPs mounted on pikes on Westminister Bridge.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not that far to a polling station

    Bollocks to all this making it easier to vote, it pretty much inherantly makes it easier to farudulantly vote as well. If the report is anything to go by, it's not helped turnout anyway.

    With the exception of people who have a genuine reason to postal vote/proxy vote (those who aren't mobile, through medical conditions/the armed forces, those genuinely on holiday/out of the country with work etc. etc) If you can't be arsed to walk a couple of hundred meters down the road to the polling station once every year or so, you don't deserve your vote. (Until such a time as you can be aresed to walk down the polling station.)

    Before anyone says: "I was too busy at work" this isn't an excuse not to vote, it is illigal for an employer not to let you have the required time off to vote.

    Also, if you don't bother to vote, don't bollock on about how shite the government/council is all the time.

  28. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Number crunching

    We have an electoral system where you can win a majority at the general election by winning about 100,000 floating votes in key marginals, and a sudden rise from 2% to 13% in the number of votes being cast by a woefully insecure system. Hmm...

  29. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    Vote early

    and vote often.

  30. JohnG

    Postal ballot not working for me

    As an expat, I can only vote in national elections, not the local ones. (I am supposed to be able to vote in the local ones here in Germany but that's another story). When I was registered for a postal ballot, they would only send it quite late such that it would most likely not arrive on time when I returned it. It is a system that is really easy to manipulate - it should either be cleaned up or dropped altogether.

    Boris - his madness seems less harmful to others than Ken's.

  31. Neil
    Thumb Up


    What? You mean there is civilised life north of Watford?

    And what's all this talk about Sian? The moderatrix still gets my vote ;-)

  32. Bronek Kozicki

    @Richard Kay

    "put granny off from voting because she didn't renew her passport, uses one of those old driving licenses or never had a passport or driving license in the first place."

    in continental Europe personal id card is commonly used for this purpose, and everyone has one (it's also commonly used as a proof of address, which makes more sense than utility bills used in UK). Of course, no need for biometrics or central database of all personal data - these two are just features that nulabur considers "cool". Possibly not without influence of some big consultancy firms, who would love to implement complex systems for lots of money.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An election agent writes...

    The big issue is the number of people who are not registered and thus unable to vote (despite wanting to). This has a *far* bigger impact than any fraud that does take place.

    @ Richard Kay: impersonation at polling stations is easy if you review the 'marked registers' which record who voted at previous elections (though not how of course, that's what MI5 are for...). Some people reliably never vote.

    Any material postal vote fraud could be stopped by analysing the number of people on the register at an address: any sudden increase should be investigated. That way you would have to add involve lots of properties in the scam (or bribe your postie, if indeed you have the same one).

    @ Fraser: what standard of proof do you require that someone has a genuine reason? In practice, it will never be checked so it's pointless to impose such a requirement. (Incidentally, caring responsibilities need to be added to your list.)

    "It is illegal for an employer not to let you have the required time off to vote." I've never heard of this one before, please could you supply a reference?

    @ Ken Hagan: you insinuate that there is widespread fraud behind the rise in postal voting. In fact, it's that all the political parties promote it to their supporters, because the research shows that people are more likely to vote. Which is kind of the idea for an election, methinks.

    @ Everyone else: the Greens select a young attractive female candidate and get near-zero coverage. Not what I expected; what is wrong with our media these days?

  34. David Shepherd

    Postal vote checking

    I know in the UK we like to make fun of the US electoral system, especially when they take days/weeks to work out who won etc .... but its interesting to compare the UK scheme where the aim of returning officers seems to be to get the result out quick (which leads to the extreme efforts in a number of constituencies in general elections employing fleets of vans to ferry ballot boxes to the count to be met by massed ranks of coutners to try to be the first to declare) with what at the time (~1999) when I was in California seemed like a comical comment from a San Francisco electoral official that as the local elections looked very close then they might not declare a final result for a couple of weeks as they needed to check the signature on every postal vote against the signature recorded on the original application. I wonder if the the political system here is prepared to accept the implications of a rigourous check on postal votes .... I can already envisage a couple of weeks of Peter Snow standing in front of animated envelopes showing the effects of the postal votes still to be counted!

  35. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    To the election agent

    "you insinuate that there is widespread fraud behind the rise in postal voting. In fact, it's that all the political parties promote it to their supporters, because the research shows that people are more likely to vote. Which is kind of the idea for an election, methinks"

    Actually I was just insinuating that with our current electoral system we are hugely vulnerable to such an attack and as long as keeping the numbers up is considered more important than securing the votes of those who can be bothered to vote, it is only a matter of time before we are attacked.

    Oh, and the point of an election is for those who care to get a say. Bumping the numbers by adding in those who don't is quite contrary to that point.

  36. David

    An election agent responds...

    @ David Shepherd: what you describe in California is now done here for postal votes. It has been taking place every day in London for the last week and is a very painful process. Voters put their ballots are in a separate envelope, so nobody will see them until 10.01pm on Thursday.

    @ Ken Hagan: my point was that there are many people who want to vote but don't manage to get themselves on the electoral register. We may understand about how registration works and that you need to do it, but a lot of people don't. Only the other day someone said to me "but I pay my council tax"; this person is far from stupid.

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