Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The X-Register

Election day may be many months away, but now is the time to act if you want to be able to take part on the day.

As many as 20,000 voters in Reading and 10,000 in Wokingham risk losing the chance to decide on the identity of the people who will represent them because they have not completed electoral registration forms.

Canvassers from councils across the county have been knocking on doors in an attempt to track down these missing people, warning that there is a legal duty on every household to ensure they are on the electoral register and that paying your Council Taxes or registering for other services does not give you the vote.

Redlands' Cllr Daisy Benson notes that the official audit will conclude on 22nd November and that this it is important to ensure election fraud can't cheat residents of their real choices.

This is particularly relevant locally, given that postal vote fraud has twice been confirmed in Berkshire in recent years.

In 2005 Labour benefited from vote rigging in central Reading, while a Conservative candidate was sent to prison for committing similar offences in Slough in 2007.

Meanwhile communications guru Neville Hobson advertises a couple of techie solutions:
  • Online at a special website
  • A phone call to an automated freephone service
  • A text message by SMS from my mobile phone
  • Return the paper canvass form in the post
Meanwhile the Electoral Commission answers all your questions (check here).

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Update: Rachel Eden expresses concern that anyone might lose there vote by not registering.

6 comments:

  1. What's the point of being on the Register, when my vote doesn't count anyway? All that happens is that I lend my approval to a ridiculous system, and run the risk of Jury Service. I will abstain now, thanks, rather than wait until Polling Day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there anon,
    I think it is ridiculous to disapprove of something which you chose not to participate in - would you rather not have the option?

    Ok, it's a fair criticism that the impression that the voice of the public is ignored on many big issues (not least over the invasion of other countries, taxes etc), but just as I couldn't respond if you hadn't left a comment here the same principle counts for government.

    Voting is the most basic means of holding politicians to account - if you don't like them, don't acquiesce by not voting, vote for someone else to replace them.

    So I'm sorry to have to disagree with you - voting means trying to change the system, not voting means accepting what we've got.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you misunderstand....I choose not to participate because I disagree with the process, not the other way round. I live in a safe ward, in a safe seat: my vote will not change the outcome. So why bother? If me going to the polling station and influencing the outcome was remotely possible, even by just a little bit, then I would reconsider. But until then, the risk of Jury Service outweighs any smug self-satisfaction I might feel about taking part in a so-called "democratic" process.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Voting is only the first step - if you really want to change any outcome then it is important to start by registering your disapproval.

    If you find that's not enough then it becomes necessary to start campaigning on the issues you want to see change on and build bridges with other people who hold similar concerns - either stand up or roll over, it's your choice!

    Once you find enough people who do hold similar views either the representatives will change their minds or you will have enough support to unseat them.

    Simples - if I don't like what I'm being spoonfed then I have to learn to cook.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh dear….you really don’t get it, do you? Let’s give your last contribution a quick Fisking, and see if we can make any progress….

    Voting is only the first step [indeed it is…if it works! My point is that it does not.]

    if you really want to change any outcome then it is important to start by registering your disapproval. [I agree – which is why I am not going to register to vote. That is the mechanism by which I choose to disapprove.]

    If you find that's not enough then it becomes necessary to start campaigning on the issues you want to see change on and build bridges with other people who hold similar concerns - either stand up or roll over, it's your choice! [I am a supporter of the Campaign for Fair Votes and the Electoral Reform Society. Will that do?]

    Once you find enough people who do hold similar views either the representatives will change their minds or you will have enough support to unseat them. [Dream on! The “representatives” either refuse to, or are incapable of, changing their views, and the corrupt system system that got them into power gives them an inbuilt inertia that is impossible to overcome.]

    Simples - if I don't like what I'm being spoonfed then I have to learn to cook. [Alternatively, if I don’t like what I am being spoonfed, then I shall start by spitting it out, and then close my mouth.]

    ReplyDelete
  6. (carrying forward the analogy) if you spit out what you're given and then don't open your mouth again, won't you starve?

    I applaud those two campaigns, but doesn't it require working the system from both ends to be successful? In which case it sounds to me like you should stand as an election candidate yourself.

    Change is often imperceptable, but it does happen and when it does it can take people by surprise. If we stop pushing in any way, will it happen faster?

    ReplyDelete

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