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The Chartist proposal for polling-place organization and a voting  machine from the 1839 edition of the People's Charter.



 

Polling Booth

Your sword is the power of your vote. Your shield is the polling booth. The shield  will fail to protect your vote from the cheats and thieves who lay siege to every election if those, who run elections, are like three blind mice.

They see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

What do experienced election veterans say?

  • Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, 50 years a member of Parliament – ‘Fraud occurs in every election in Australia.’

  • Pat Bradley CBE OBE, Chief Electoral Officer in Northern Ireland, and election inspector for the United Nations in 22 countries, said  ‘I have never seen an election where there was no fraud.’


What Fraud Would You Expect to Occur in a Polling Booth?

Impersonation – a person pretends to be someone else

This is to gain a ballot paper by false identification on the electoral roll.

  • Someone legitimately enrolled but known to be absent

  • A real person who has died

  • A real person who has moved to another electorate but has not re-enrolled there

  • A person likely to be voting at another booth in the electorate

  • A person known not to vote for religious reasons

  • A person who is a known non-voter for other reasons.


Ballot stuffing – voting more than once in the same name

This involves acquiring multiple ballot papers.

  • A voter could take his ballot paper out of the booth to a copying machine and produce multiple copies to palm into a ballot box. This is possible in Australia where the same coloured paper can be bought from common stock and water-marked paper is no longer used.

  • A voter could be marked off in multiple booths to gain multiple papers.


People managing or counting votes in booths

An election is as honest as those managing them. Otherwise, fraud can occur.

  • By stacking them incorrectly – 10 votes for one party over 90 for another

  • By spoiling them with old tricks like the pencil under the thumb

  • By conjuring some ballots into bag or pockets in a close election (one seat was won by 7 votes in the 2007 federal election in Australia)

  • By merely counting them incorrectly

  • By filling out extra papers in a back room during voting.


Assisted voting due to language, illness or blindness

The vote recorded is not necessarily for the candidate the voter preferred.

  • Where votes are recorded through electronic or mechanical means, the voting machinery maybe altered so that a vote intended for one candidate is recorded for another.

  • An immigrant, who relies on a relative to explain the choices, may also have his/her vote used and abused.

You may well ask why, if the polling booth can be breached by so many cheats, thieves and rogues, how it protects you at all. The answer is that it protects your vote far better than any other device yet invented to prevent fraud in elections. That is why it is used in parliamentary elections world-wide today.

So why do they allow enough people to vote outside a polling booth:

  • Where the votes cast are not secret votes

  • They are not protected from fraud as adequately

  • They can wholly decide the result of a single or entire election.

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