Sunday, February 15, 2004
The personal touch: The best way to avoid fraud in the balloting is to insist people actually show up to vote, by Scott Reid
The opportunities for fraud are endless. In the 2002 leadership race, which was conducted by mail, Samantha the cat was the least of the party's problem voters. Former Rhinoceros Party leader Charlie McKenzie purchased a mail-in ballot legally, and then proceeded to auction it off on EBay. Mr. Mackenzie was reported to have stated that the sale was "an experiment in democratic capitalism," and was paraphrased by reporter Jill Vardy as saying that the ballot auction was "a gentle jab at a political system run by money."
Switching from mail-in ballots to telephone or Internet balloting does not solve the problem.
If the leadership election organizing committee chooses any form of voting that does not involve every single voter physically turning up at the polls or (in the case of shut-ins) being visited at home by a party official, it is entirely possible that the leadership of the new party will be decided on the basis of fraud.
Even if this disaster is avoided, it is a virtual certainty that at least some of the ballots cast for the new leader of the party will have been cast fraudulently...
The committee must ensure that every such loophole is firmly shut and is transparently beyond any form of tampering.