United Kingdom

Articles about voting issues in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

United Kingdom: Thousands call for entire UK to get voting rights in London mayoral elections – claiming decisions in the capital ‘affect the rest of the country’ | London Evening Standard

Thousands of people are calling for the entire UK to get voting rights in London’s mayoral elections. A petition – entitled “Let the UK vote for the next London Mayor. It is our capital after all!” – has been signed by more than 6,500 people. Launched by Lorraine Davis, it claims voters outside the capital should have the right to vote because the Mayor of London’s decisions have a “roll-on effect” on the rest of the UK. She said: “After the disastrous last few years of Sadiq Khan being the mayor of London, let the people of the country elect the next mayor, as it does affect the rest of the country, what does and does not happen in London seems to have a roll-on effect.” However, the petition is guaranteed to be rejected by the government because the mayor is directly accountable to Londoners under local democracy laws. Read More

United Kingdom: Government rejects online voting for disabled voters amid electoral fraud fears | Sky News

The government has rejected calls to provide online voting access to disabled voters, claiming it increases the risk of electoral fraud. E-voting could make elections more accessible for disabled voters, campaigners have argued, and requests to trial online voting were submitted to a recent government report. “There may be potential benefits for some groups in using e-voting but there are significant concerns about the security of online voting,” said the government in response to those submissions. The “increased risk of electoral fraud” alongside “providing unproven systems to people who are already vulnerable […] would not be helpful,” the government explained. It was argued that online voting would help people with sight loss, where audio support and other forms of assistive technology such as screen-readers are available via their computers. Read More

United Kingdom: Ministers urged to abandon Voter ID as rollout at general election estimated to cost up to £20m | The Independent

Ministers are facing calls to ditch plans for nationwide voter ID checks as it emerged introducing them at a general election could cost up to £20m – even though there were only 28 cases of polling station impersonations alleged in 2017. The government has been urged to abandon the contentious proposals, with the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) pointing out that at this rate, the cost could equate to £700,000 per fraud allegation. Labour has claimed the moves are in danger of locking people out of the democratic process, and critics fear it could disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and the poorest. Read More

United Kingdom: Voter ID: our first results suggest local election pilot was unnecessary and ineffective | The Conversation

The 2018 local elections in England were surrounded by a fierce debate over a pilot requiring voters to present ID at polling stations. The government had argued that a clampdown on security was needed, because it was concerned about ongoing electoral fraud in polling stations. It’s important to have neutral evidence to judge these claims. We think our findings from the largest ever survey on electoral integrity at UK polling stations can help to achieve this. Following up on a 2015 survey, we conducted a survey of the staff managing polling stations across England, issuing ballot papers and sealing up ballot boxes at the 2018 local elections. We asked if they had suspicions that electoral fraud was taking place and whether party agents were acting within electoral law. We also asked if voters were turned away. The survey was circulated in 42 local authorities that were not piloting voter ID and there were 2,274 responses. Read More

United Kingdom: Democracy at risk due to fake news and data misuse, MPs conclude | The Guardian

Democracy is at risk unless the government and regulators take urgent action to combat a growing crisis of data manipulation, disinformation and so-called fake news, a parliamentary committee is expected to say. In damning conclusions to a report leaked by former Vote Leave campaign strategist Dominic Cummings before its official publication on Sunday, the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee adds to the growing calls for tougher government regulation of social media companies. It accuses them of profiting from misleading material and raises concerns about Russian involvement in British politics. Read More

United Kingdom: Vote Leave broke electoral law and British democracy is shaken | The Guardian

Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 after being found guilty of breaking electoral law during the Brexit campaign. Two people have been referred to the police. But with this initial investigation concluded, Britain faces a difficult period of soul searching over what to do about this evidence of extensive wrongdoing. A democracy is only as strong as the elections that set its course. If they can be bought or subverted, then confidence in democracy and the legitimacy of the governments it installs, seeps away. But astonishingly, the details that have been gradually revealed, of illegal activity by both the official Vote Leave and the unofficial Leave.EU campaigns in the run-up to the Brexit vote, appear to have no immediate consequences. Most British elections are guaranteed by law. If evidence of serious cheating is uncovered they can be scrutinised and overturned in an “election court”, overseen by high court judges. Read More

United Kingdom: Vote Leave: Pro-Brexit group fined by electoral commission | CNN

The official pro-Brexit campaign group has been fined and referred to the police after the UK’s elections watchdog found it had broken Britain’s strict electoral laws. The Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave £61,000 ($81,000) for coordinating with another campaign group — called BeLeave — and exceeding spending limits during the 2016 referendum campaign. In a damning ruling, the commission said it had imposed a punitive fine on Vote Leave, and accused it of frustrating the watchdog’s investigation. “We found substantial evidence that the two groups (Vote Leave and BeLeave) worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits,” said Bob Posner, Electoral Commission director of political finance and regulation and legal counsel, in a statement. Read More

United Kingdom: Russian agency suspected in US election hack may be behind UK poisoning | New York Times

The same Russian military intelligence service now accused of disrupting the 2016 presidential election in the United States may also be responsible for the nerve agent attack in Britain against a former Russian spy — an audacious poisoning that led to a geopolitical confrontation this spring between Moscow and the West. British investigators believe the March 4 attack on the former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, was most probably carried out by current or former agents of the service, known as the GRU, who were sent to his home in southern England, according to one British official, one US official and one former US official familiar with the inquiry, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence. Read More

United Kingdom: Watchdog investigates links between Canadian data firm and Vote Leave | The Guardian

The Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating the relationship between the Canadian data firm AggregateIQ, Vote Leave and a number of other leave campaigns, the body has said in a report published on Wednesday. The investigation is one of the many started by the ICO in response to reporting by the Observer and Guardian suggesting that widespread data misuse may have occurred during the EU referendum period. The ICO report, citing data handed over by Facebook in May, says: “AIQ created and, in some cases, placed advertisements on behalf of the DUP Vote to Leave campaign, Vote Leave, BeLeave, and Veterans for Britain. Read More

United Kingdom: Facebook to be fined £500,000 in Cambridge Analytica data scandal | Politico

It’s more bad news for Facebook. The social networking giant faces a fine of a half a million pounds in Britain for failing to protect people’s online data connected to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to a report published by the country’s privacy watchdog on Wednesday. The financial penalty would represent the first levy worldwide against the tech giant for its role in the alleged abuse. As part of an ongoing investigation into the use of data by political groups, Elizabeth Denham, the U.K.’s Information Commissioner, or ICO, said Facebook broke the country’s data protection rules by making users’ information available to a third-party app linked to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm. Facebook also was not transparent about how people’s digital information would then be used by these companies, particularly in relation to political campaigns. Read More