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Seventy One Votes, Several Samosas and the Definition of Substantial

Seventy One Votes, Several Samosas and the Definition of Substantial

On the 8th January 2014, the usually reserved Electoral Commission finally went public and named 16 Council's 'at risk' of election fraud. In its report to combat 'ballot and vote-rigging', it called for both rules and security be tightened at polling stations as well as the need for postal voting reform. This influential commission claimed changes were necessary to 'restore trust in the electoral system'. The list of 16 'at risk' areas included Oldham.

To save readers the trouble, the following information is directly extracted from this report. As well as naming the 16 areas, the Electoral Commission provides some analysis and correlating features of their concerns.

Electoral Commission Analysis

3.2 These areas are generally limited to individual wards within a number of local authority areas. We have identified the following 16 local authority areas (out of just over 400 across the UK as a whole) where there appears to be a greater risk of cases of alleged electoral fraud being reported:

  1. Birmingham
  2. Bradford
  3. Calderdale
  4. Derby
  5. Kirklees
  6. Pendle
  7. Slough
  8. Walsall
  9. Blackburn with Darwen
  10. Burnley
  11. Coventry
  12. Hyndburn
  13. Oldham
  14. Peterborough
  15. Tower Hamlets
  16. Woking

3.3 These areas are often characterised by being densely populated with a transient population, a high number of multiple occupancy houses and a previous history of allegations of electoral fraud.

3.4 These areas are also often home to communities with a diverse range of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. We have heard some strongly held views, based in particular on reported first-hand experience by some campaigners and elected representatives, that electoral fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominately populated by some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh.

3.5 These concerns reflect issues also highlighted by a small number of previous studies of political and electoral participation, which have suggested that extended family and community networks could be mobilised to secure the support of large numbers of electors in some areas, effectively constituting a ‘block vote’ - although this would not necessarily involve electoral fraud.

3.6 Some people who have raised concerns about the risk of electoral fraud within specific South Asian communities have also argued that the wider availability of postal voting in Great Britain since 2001 has increased the risk of electoral fraud associated with this approach, as the greater safeguards of secrecy provided by polling stations are removed. We have also heard concerns and allegations about the intimidation of electors outside polling stations in specific areas.

3.7 Evidence from police data and prosecutions shows that people accused of electoral fraud and people convicted of fraud come from a range of backgrounds including white British, South Asian and other European backgrounds. It would be a mistake to suggest that electoral fraud only takes place within specific South Asian communities.

3.8 We are, however, concerned about the extent to which electoral fraud affects or originates from within specific communities. The evidence and views we have heard raise significant questions about whether individuals within these communities are able effectively to exercise their right to vote, and whether they are able to participate in elections on the same basis as other electors across the UK. All electors should be free to cast their votes in the way they wish. It is not acceptable to explain or excuse electoral fraud on the basis of actual or perceived differences in cultural approaches to democratic participation.

At the time the report was published and Oldham named on the Electoral Commission red list, JIM McMAHON, then leader of Oldham Council issued the following statement.

"If a member has been elected through fraud they hold no democratic legitimacy."

Though it has taken the government 6 years to pass legislation to implement one of the key recommendations in this report, the need to provide identification when casting your vote, progress to help safeguard our democracy has been slow. One of the main barriers has been resistance from politicians within the Labour Party who appear to disagree with both the Electoral Commission and the Government position.

In our current electoral system, there is inexcusable potential for someone to cast another’s vote at the polling station. All you need to do is say a name and address when you go to vote.

Stealing someone’s vote is stealing their voice. Voter fraud is a crime that we cannot allow room for, so the government is stamping out any potential for it to take place in elections.

Showing identification to prove who they are is something people of all walks of life already do everyday. It is a reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice to voting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, and theirs alone.

And whilst progress has been made, many believe that the reform does not go far enough, specifically when it comes to postal voting and the many ways the current system is easily exploited.

The Ongoing Oldham Observations

I'll leave it to people to make their own minds up if there is any link between the Electoral Commission's correlation between Bangladeshi & Pakistani communities, block voting, cultural approaches to democratic participation, voter fraud and this story following JIM McMAHON's 2015 election as MP for Oldham West & Royton.

‘Democracy is dead’ say UKIP as Labour take 100% of postal votes surge in one area
NIGEL Farage called for an investigation into the Oldham West byelection today after Labour scooped an unprecedented 100 per cent of the votes in one area.

The area where this 100% postal vote surge took place was in the predominantly Bangladeshi Oldham ward of Coldhurst. The allegation made, though not a new one, was that Labour supporters would collect signed blank ballot papers from voters, and then fill them in elsewhere. At the time, Oldham Central Mosque was implicated in this activity known as postal vote harvesting.

When asked, an unnamed spokesperson from the mosque denied any wrong doing on their part and claimed they did not allow political activities on their site. What they omitted to share was that the mosque's trustees were made up almost exclusively of Labour Party members including elected councillors. The Mosque also later hosted JIM McMAHON where he is photographed  'thanking..for the votes.' I later also exposed how this mosque had been secretly funded by Oldham Council. Make of all of this what you will.

LEWIS QUIGG, at the time Secretary of the Oldham and Saddleworth Conservative Federation, stated that despite regular complaints to Greater Manchester Police of electoral fraud at multiple elections in Oldham over successive years 'no action was taken'. In an interview with the Telegraph he went on to state,

“It is an industrial operation to the point that you cannot keep up with it. As far as I am aware it has been going on for years. The operation is pretty slick.”

McMahon's Main Man

Fast forward from December 2015 to now and the area of Coldhurst once again finds itself mired in allegations of electoral fraud. This time, the allegations centre around McMAHON's Bangladeshi Lieutenant, Cllr ABDUL JABBAR, and his 71 vote victory in the 2021 local election. But this time, this time, the allegation of electoral fraud and rigging an election has escalated in only a way possible in a town where democracy is broken. Instead of just electoral fraud being accused amongst the Pakistani & Bangladeshi communities, the allegation extends to this fraud, the rigging of an election, actually being facilitated by the Oldham Council Chief Executive Dr CAROLYN WILKINS and her team of  Metropolitan Elite, predominantly White officers, that hold senior positions in Oldham Council.

Having had sight of damning evidence, not only has what taken place inexcusable, I believe that finally this will be a watershed moment for our broken democratic system. With a date for trial in the High Court being scheduled to be set this Friday 27th August, and the Council desperately trying to find a way out, Oldham is once again going to make national news for all the wrong reasons.

Since we started this journey, I have been sharing with you my concerns of electoral fraud and the complicity of both politicians and councils in this. The consequence of my insights, based on first hand experiences of communities where this is rife, has led to me being repeatedly referred to as a Far Right activist rather than the anti racist, equality and human rights campaigner that I am. The allegations have come from the usual people and the usual places. Well, guess what? Is Oldham about to become the next Tower Hamlets?

Eric Pickles takes over ‘rotten’ Tower Hamlets
Crackdown on London borough’s ‘partisan approach to politics’ represents one of his biggest interventions in local government

Join me this evening as I share what I know of this explosive incident. I believe the implications of this High Court case will not just, once and for all, expose just how deep this breach of our democratic system runs, it will result in the end of political careers and force the police to arrest senior politicians and Council officers.

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Raja Miah MBE | Anti Racist | Recusant Nine

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Raja Miah MBE

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