Tuesday, April 6, 2010

UK General election 2010: postal voting changes risk disenfranchisement - Telegraph

General election 2010: postal voting changes risk disenfranchisement - Telegraph:

Hundreds of thousands of postal voters might lose out in the election because of changes to the way people can register.

One in five people – 20 per cent of all voters - are expected to vote by post in this year's election, a record since postal voting became widespread in 2001.

However, new changes to crack down on voter fraud since the last general election in 2005 could disenfranchise more than 200,000 voters.

Under changes made law since the last election, anyone who votes by post now has to register their signature and date of birth.

They are sent a polling card, which they have to sign to validate their vote.

These new “personal identifiers” were used last year in the by-election for Glasgow North East - the seat of ex-Commons Speaker Michael Martin.

The Electoral Commission found that five per cent of all postal votes cast were found to be unsafe, because people’s signatures did not match or they gave the wrong date of birth.

Translated nationally this would mean that as many as 240,000 voters – one per cent of all those cast – could be discounted.

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