I have no sympathy at all for the Conservative Councillor in Slough who has been found guilty of electoral malpractice. I have none either for his agent. Regardless of party affiliation, anyone who does this kind of thing deserves all the opprobrium and penalties that are coming to them.
But, and at the risk of being boringly repetitive, the encouragement of unfettered postal voting, coupled with the monthly (rather than annual) updating of the electoral register, is making electoral fraud easier than at any time since the introduction of the Ballot Act in 1872.
In Kingston we have a very professional team in charge of electoral registration. I am sure the same is true of most local authorities. But there are far too few people to be able to check meaningfully the vastly increased claims for postal votes that now flood in (over 15000 in this Borough in 2006) – or even to check that the persons named on the applications actually exist. The Government must either tackle this meaningfully as a matter of urgency or be regarded as too complacent about the situation to be bothered.