|Tower Hamlet Mayor Bangladesh-born Rahman|
convicted of electoral law violations in 2015
and removed from office.
The U.K. Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore, announced that checks will take place at the 2018 local elections in areas the Electoral Commission has judged to be at the highest risk of “vote-rigging”—all areas with “high concentrations” of Asian Muslim residents.
In an official statement released on the U.K. Government’s website, Skidmore said that to “reduce electoral fraud,” the government would also take measures to “prevent the intimidation and undue influence of voters at the hands of activists and supporters, end the dubious practice of postal vote harvesting,” and, significantly, “consider measures for nationality checking that will prevent fraudulent voter registrations.”
This latter measure, Skidmore’s statement continued, means that for the May 2018 elections, voters will be required to “bring ID to prove who they are before they can vote, preventing anyone fraudulently taking another person’s ballot paper.”
Local authorities will be allowed to use different types of identification, including forms of photo ID such as driving licenses and passports, or formal correspondence such as a utilities bill to prove their address backed by a signature check. Voters will be asked to produce ID before they can be given their ballot paper.
The proposed reforms come in the wake of another government report which identified 16 Muslim-overrun inner city areas around Britain where voter fraud was rampant, and where dozens of criminal prosecutions had taken place.
In 2014, the U.K.’s Electoral Commission, which oversees elections in that country, said that “fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominantly populated by some south Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh.”
Among the areas identified as problematic include Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Burnley, Calderdale, Coventry, Derby, Hyndburn, Kirklees, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Slough, Tower Hamlets, Walsall, and Woking. Last year, former mayor Lutfur Rahman from Tower Hamlets in east London was stripped of his post after being convicted of “voting irregularities.”
The Tower Hamlet 2014 Mayoral election has since been declared void, with Rahman reported personally guilty and guilty by his agents of making false statements of fact about another candidate's personal conduct or character, of administering council grants in a way which constituted electoral bribery, and of spiritual intimidation of voters. He was also reported guilty by his agents of personation, postal vote fraud, fraudulent registration of voters, and illegal payment of canvassers.
Tower Hamlets was specifically mentioned in Skidmore’s full report, where it was said that “Last year’s election court judgment in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was a wake-up call that more needs to be done to protect the integrity of our democracy.”
Skidmore also said the issue of “the use of languages other than English” in polling stations “could hide coercion or influence.” To combat the “potential for such illegal activity,” he wrote, the government is “mindful of the broader integration agenda and the importance of all citizens being able to speak English to engage in society.”
Skidmore’s report also revealed that the biggest problem facing any system of automated “nationality checking” was the incredible fact that “there is no national register of U.K. nationals.”
|Convicted voter-fraudster Rahman and his East-London Muslim supporters.|
An east London Muslim mayor has been removed from office and a poll declared void after he was found guilty of electoral fraud. An Election Commissioner concluded Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman breached election rules and must vacate his post immediately.
Four voters alleged he used "corrupt and illegal practices" in last year's election, which must now be re-run. Petitioners Andy Erlam, Angela Moffat and Azmal Hussein accused Lutfur Rahman of electoral fraud. Mr Rahman, who denied any wrong-doing, has been banned from standing again.
Miss Simone, who gave evidence in a written statement, said: "I have chosen to come forward as a petitioner to support others who wanted to come forward but felt too frightened to do so as this could potentially affect their job and housing prospects, and that of their family members and affect their future political careers.
She said she had "witnessed some irregularities", telling how she had spoken to a Turkish man on a doorstep while canvassing for Labour in one Tower Hamlets ward.
"He told us that the previous week he had been visited by the Tower Hamlets First (ward) candidate Maium Miah, who had told him to vote for Mayor Lutfur and for Tower Hamlets First as he was a Muslim and good Muslims should vote for their Muslim brother Lutfur," she said. "The young man felt a bit pressured by this. He had left Turkey exactly because of this kind of thing and was shocked to find it going on in the UK."
At the special High Court hearing, Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey also ordered Mr Rahman to pay £250,000 in costs. One of Mr Rahman's aides, Alibor Choudhury, was also found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices. Tower Hamlets First, Mr Rahman's party, said the judgement was a "shock" and it was seeking further legal advice in relation to a judicial review.
Mr Mawrey - who sat as a judge - said the mayor had "driven a coach and horses through election law and didn't care". In the Election Court judgement, he said the effect of his ruling that Mr Rahman's election was void meant it was as if the election "had never taken place" and he had not lawfully been mayor since he was re-elected for a second term on 24 May 2014.
Mr Mawrey also added: "The evidence laid before this court...has disclosed an alarming state of affairs in Tower Hamlets. "This is not the consequence of the racial and religious mix of the population, nor is it linked to any ascertainable pattern of social or other deprivation. "It is the result of the ruthless ambition of one man."
|Voter-fraudster Rahman and his hench-Muslims canvassing in 2014 elections.|
|Three accusers of Rahman electoral-fraud case.|
|Pakistan-born Sadiq Khan the first Muslim mayor of London.|