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Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Double standards

Byline Times reports on the latest Tory Government double standards as they do everything they can to gerrymander the electoral system in their favour.

They say that the government has been accused of “corrupting democracy” as it pushes through legislation that will allow Brits living overseas to have their identity confirmed by an existing UK voter – while rejecting calls for the same rules to apply to in-person voters who lack photo ID:

A little-known piece of legislation – the Draft Representation of the People (Overseas Electors etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 – is currently sitting in Parliament after being drawn up by ministers, and does not require a parliamentary vote to pass.

It will allow overseas voters to have their identity vouched for by a currently-registered voter, when they sign up to vote abroad. Voters living here can already register this way, though the process is rarely used, and there are fears that relaxed rules for overseas voters could open the UK up to foreign interference and a flood of opaque donations.

Ministers have just raised the spending limit by 80% for general elections for political parties – again without a parliamentary vote – while separate legislation has scrapped the previous 15-year limit that people could live abroad and continue to be able to vote.

In theory, someone could have lived abroad for 50 years, with little evidence of where they used to vote – and a friend living in the UK could vouch that they were telling the truth about their eligibility to cast their ballot in a key swing seat.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Chris Rennard is sounding the alarm about the plans, arguing that the so-called ‘attestation’ rules letting overseas citizens register to vote without firm documentation showing they used to live in the UK will enable Brits overseas to donate unlimited sums to political causes.

It comes after the Government controversially rejected calls from the Electoral Commission watchdog and democracy campaigners to let voters bring alternative forms of voter identification following May’s elections or to allow others to ‘attest’ to the identity of those who lack ID.

At least 14,000 voters were turned away from polling stations and denied a vote in England in May. There are fears as many as 100,000 people could be turned away in next year’s general election.

Even Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted that the strict voter ID rules were a form of ‘gerrymandering’. The government is now taking that to a new level.
How many overseas Brits will a resident voter be able to vouch for?

Up to two
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