Coercion within postal voting?

The Electoral Commission (for what good they are) issues guidelines concerning the code of conduct for political parties, candidates, canvassers and campaigners.

An individual may not exert, or attempt to exert, undue influence to persuade or force someone to vote, not to vote, or to vote a certain way. Someone who prevents or deters the voter from freely exercising their right to vote, or attempts to do so, may be found guilty of undue influence.

The following has been received by someone I know (details blanked) and was personally addressed to them, using their Christian name. The first page contained what I consider to be untruthful/contradictory statements, but then what political pamphlet does not. What I find questionable is the second page.

The point of contention, in my view, is the form of words used in Step 1 of page two, namely: Place a cross (X) next to the Labour candidate. Should this not read: Place a cross (X) next to the candidate of your choice. One wonders how many other Labour candidates are using this leaflet for those within their constituencies that have opted for a postal vote? As far as I’m concerned this leaflet is the same as offering to fill in someone’s postal vote.

The question is asked because recalling the level of intelligence of some of the electorate, said level may well read that first step as an instruction – bearing in mind the heading to this particular page. It is worth recalling that one definition of ‘use’ is:  to take unfair advantage of; or exploit – enough said?

If there are moves afoot to ensure that anyone voting must be able to prove their identity (passport or driving licence, for example) then perhaps it should be mandatory for all election leaflets to be approved beforehand by the Electoral Commission (assuming we were able to have such a body that truly was impartial, was a watchdog in the strictest sense of the word; and had someone in overall control who is politically neutral, not a ghost ghose, and thus someone we could respect).

‘Food for thought’?


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