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Britain’s History of Postal Vote Fraud

November 15, 2020.

Claims of mail-in voting fraud in the U.S. elections remain disputed, but many such scandals have already been exposed on the other side of the Atlantic. Mail-in or, in British parlance, postal voting on-demand was introduced by Labour prime minister Tony Blair in the 2000s, with one of the most notorious and egregious scandals involving its abuse breaking not long afterwards.

In 2005, Labour councillors Shafaq Ahmed, Shah Jahan, Ayaz Khan, Mohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal, and Mohammed Kaziwere found guilty of electoral fraud after it was established that a “vote-forging factory” had been set up in a disused warehouse in Aston, Birmingham, to swing local elections to their party with postal ballots. Details of the election as reported by the left-wing Guardian seem almost fantastical, describing how “Corrupt postmen had handed over sacks of postal ballots to Labour candidates, little boys had been paid to steal postal ballots from letterboxes, and bags full of postal votes had arrived late at the count, to be included without question in the poll.”

The newspaper described how “Bags of postal votes, which were clearly identifiable, were wheeled through the streets in sacks by temporary staff or carted to the count in plastic bags dumped in the boot of a car” ahead of election results which were “little short of astounding”, with turnout up 100 per cent in one area and an astonishing 350 per cent in another. Ruling on the scandal, which had to be brought before the authorities by private individuals under the Representation of the People Act, Richard Mawrey QC said the scale of the fraud “would disgrace a banana republic” and criticised the police, who had had multiple allegations put before them, for their “Olympian detachment” from the proceedings.

Some changes were made to the postal voting in 2006 in the wake of the scandal, but an international investigation by a committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) found that it was still “childishly simple to register bogus voters on the voters’ list” in 2007, and that the system provided “the anonymity to carry out fraud without detection”.

While other postal voting scandals were exposed over the years, the next to truly grip the public imagination took place in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, where Britain’s first directly-elected Muslim mayor, Luftur Rahman, had his election voided at the High Court — once again by Richard Mawrey QC, and once again by private petitioners bringing a petition under the Representation of the People Act, after the Electoral Commission and police failed to effectively intervene. First elected as a Labour candidate in 2010, the controversial Bangladesh-born politician was re-elected in 2014 on his own Tower Hamlets First ticket, but was turfed out of office in 2015 after Mawrey found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

These including using “bribery, treating and undue influence” to secure votes, as well as “undue spiritual influence” — Muslims were browbeaten into voting for Rahman by allies who threatened that backing another candidate would be un-Islamic — as well as postal vote fraud. A forensic handwriting expert, for example, found that in a sample of ballots, “one quarter… appeared, in each case, to be written in the same ink”.

“Rahman’s supporters were buying votes with public money, and committing postal vote fraud on an industrial scale,” said one of the petitioners after Rahman’s election was overturned. “All these things are now proved by the court. But the Electoral Commission washed its hands. The police didn’t take it seriously,” they complained.

Postal vote fraud remains in an issue in Britain to this day, with Conservative parliamentarian and former government minister Steve Baker MP writing that constituents “would be shocked if they knew the extent of corrupt election practices and voter fraud” as recently as December 2019. “There is widespread abuse of postal votes. In one case, private data held by a third party for legitimate purposes was used to apply for postal votes, and then intercepted before electors had a chance to complete them. The victims would not make a formal complaint as they feared retribution,” he revealed, indicating that many scandals do not see the light of day.

Birmingham and Tower Hamlets judge Richard Mawrey QC, for his part, weighed in on the possibility of mail-in voting fraud in the United States ahead of the November 3rd election, concluding that it was very much a risk.

“Even the pro-Biden press in America admits that the system is shambolic,” he wrote in an article for the Spectator, noting that in some states ballots are sent out without even having to be requested, and can be returned and counted after the polls have closed — not permissible in the United Kingdom. “None of this is to say that fraud will happen, only that it can happen and happen easily,” he concluded, adding that “the Democrats are certainly wrong to say it can’t.”

This article was first published by Breitbart News on November 10, 2020.


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