Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Expensive business, elections.   I heard the other day that the proposed referendum in Brighton about putting the Council Tax up by more than 2% was going to cost over £100,000, so goodness knows what the cost might be for running all the elections across the country - Parish Councils, District Councils, County Councils, General Elections, EU Parliament Elections and so on - but it must run into £millions.

But we may have thought it was a price worth paying to secure a squeaky clean democratic process;  so it`s more than disappointing to discover, thanks to Judge Mawrey`s research, that the present system of postal voting on demand may, in all probability, lead to unscrupulous vote rigging in certain parts of the country.   Then there is the absurdity of having the choice whether to vote or not.  Now that may be a long held matter of personal choice but recent very low turn-outs such as the election of Police Commissioners do call into question the validity of the outcome.

Now North Korea have sorted it out.  In their recent elections to the North Korean Parliament it`s reported that Kim Jong-Un was elected by 100% of the voters with 100% of eligible voters casting their votes.   The fact that he was the only candidate on the ballot paper can`t really disguise his enormous popular appeal, especially as there was at least an element of choice in the proceedings. The ballot papers gave the choice of voting for Kim Jong-Un or voting against, although the requirement to cast a `no` vote in a quite separate polling booth overseen by armed guards may perhaps have influenced some voters in their choice.

Perhaps, on balance, our very expensive and rather flawed system has its advantages after all.

1 comment:

Ray Turner said...

One thing I have learnt by standing in local elections myself, is that our democratic process is not squeaky clean.

The Town Council not issuing polling cards to electors is a very good example of that. Lack of a polling card inevitably reduces turnout, as people forget the date of the election or don't regard it as 'official'.

If the governing party wants a low turnout, a very good way of achieving this is to make sure the council officers don't issue polling cards...