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Old Nov 2nd 2011, 4:53 pm   #76
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Default Re: Voting Rights

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Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
The difficulties of dealing with a rather out-dated way of registering and then voting has been one objection raised by expats, given the more modern communications available in the internet age.
In the US, proponents argue that Internet voting would offer greater speed and convenience, particularly for overseas and military voters and, in fact, any voters allowed to vote that way.
However, computer and network security experts are virtually unanimous in pointing out that online voting is an exceedingly dangerous threat to the integrity of U.S. elections!
Whether you are interested in voting on-line or not, it's worth reading here about the security threats if you e.g. shop or bank on-line.
However, if we accept this degree of risk in continuing with our e-commerce transactions presumably we'd also be prepared to vote on-line?
Rod
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Hello Domino,
Nice to hear from you again on the reply from the Constitutional Group in the Cabinet Office, although with your security experience I fully expected my posting on the threats from hackers of a less secure but more convenient on-line voting system to have caught your attention!
Kind regards,
Rod
Well Rod, i was considering leaving this for another day to give all our readers an opportunity to assimilate the previous posting.

The electoral systems employed across the world seem to be based on black art and alchemy. What with putting an X next to the name after having had your name ticked off a list. Then there is the thumprint (who actually checks the right to vote?) but at least there is a heavily stained finger meaning you can't vote twice.
And then there is the much discredited punching a hole in a piece of paper, leaving chads all over the place, like the aftermath of a wedding reception.

For some reason The Vote is one thing UK councils don't want to meddle with, although they want us to pay our rates by electronic means, governments pay benefits and pensions electronically as money transfer.
We buy goods electronically on a daily basis, more do than will admit it IMHO.
We buy train and bus and plane tickets, we book a parking place at the airport - all electronically. We even buy anniversary and birthday cards over the internet for delivery to loved ones.
So if we can go to open sites such as newspapers or to market research organisations such as YouGov, Twitter, Facebook etc Why can't we be allowed to vote online?

Online security can be a problem, but following good practice and solid security systems only leaves the electronic poking around which is relatively easy to pick up and action - providing there is the desire and inclination to do so.
The banning of plug in's in secure areas is common, as is the use of small lockable cabinets to hold mobile phones is now quite common inside computer rooms. The use of on-site paper shredding of confidential waste ensures there is little room for the common human failure. (I used to have a contractor in to shred 2tonnes once a month). Because the most publicised form of data breach is human failure, i.e. laptop on the tube\back of taxi etc, plug in's left lying around, things sent by unsecure, unsigned for, processes, the use of scamming readers etc then reduction of the human from the process would surely be an advantage.
Yes there are other electronic breaches which receive less publicity because the company\bank invokes confidentiality.

But all this is an excuse for changing the systems employed, perhaps led by the company(s) making the hole punch for the US system, they don't want to change - but we had to have our passports changed to useless chipped versions without our being able to complain.

So stop the prevarication, change the postal vote, which is in the UK at least much maligned and proved to be more liable to fraud than most other methods, and give the voter an electronic vote.

rgds
Dom
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Old Nov 5th 2011, 1:37 pm   #77
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Hello Domino,
You suggested getting rid of the postal vote in your last posting.

The Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform has reported on the 4th November 2011 , on the subject of Individual Electoral Registration ( the latter in fact which already applies to expatriate voting) within the UK.
It is significant, therefore, that there are two references to overseas voters in the report.
The first mentions the inadequacy of the postal vote.
The second on pp. 99 states: The Committee also received written evidence from a number of expatriates calling for the Government to abolish the current 15 year limit on voting in General Elections when living overseas. Mark Harper responded that it was “something that Government is considering at the moment, but we have not reached a decision”.

At least we seem to have achieved a certain formal recognition and possibly pushed open the door a little more?
Kind regards,
Rod
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Old Nov 5th 2011, 2:10 pm   #78
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Default Re: Voting Rights

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Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
Hello Domino,
You suggested getting rid of the postal vote in your last posting.

The Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform has reported on the 4th November 2011 , on the subject of Individual Electoral Registration ( the latter in fact which already applies to expatriate voting) within the UK.
It is significant, therefore, that there are two references to overseas voters in the report.
The first mentions the inadequacy of the postal vote.
The second on pp. 99 states: The Committee also received written evidence from a number of expatriates calling for the Government to abolish the current 15 year limit on voting in General Elections when living overseas. Mark Harper responded that it was “something that Government is considering at the moment, but we have not reached a decision”.

At least we seem to have achieved a certain formal recognition and possibly pushed open the door a little more?
Kind regards,
Rod
Hi Rod

My suggestion that the postal vote be abolished is because of the misuse and fraud that has been increasing year on year, regrettably predominately by certain sections of the community.
However, there would still be people who would become disenfranchised by such an abolition i.e. disabled, pensioners etc, in the same way as closing post offices in small villages. Unless the money could be found to ensure that all entitle to vote are able to do so, but that would be very very expensive.

That the report is including representation by ex-pats with regard to their loss of voting rights means it should be possible to keep it in the mind and be regularly mentioned as part of the review process.

As I said before, it is a shame this is essentially a 2 man thread, but the stats say there are close on 2,500 hits by people reading the thread so it is being read

keep up the good work, remember that there are local elections in the UK next year and that a number of people will not be able to vote.
regards
Dom
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Old Nov 10th 2011, 9:06 am   #79
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Default Re: Voting Rights

To continue this discussion, what's the general feeling about the practical case of expat Brit James Preston below?

James Preston’s expat voting rights case against the British government was heard in the High Court in London two days ago on the 8th November (final judgement awaited). According to an article in the expat Telegraph which first covered his case in 2010 (before the last general election):

“James Preston is a brave man. Rather like David goading Goliath, he has decided to take on the full might of the British government by applying for a judicial review of the expatriate voting rights law. The curious thing about James Preston, a married fund manager from Leicestershire working for a property investment firm based in Madrid, is that he’s never voted in his life. He told me: “I know this might sound odd, but until I got married and had children, I really never felt the need to vote. It was my strong feelings about the Iraq war that persuaded me to think about voting in the forthcoming UK elections but now that I’ve reached the 15 year watershed of living in Spain, I’ve lost the chance. I’m basically being stripped of a fundamental democratic right. The right to vote.”

Due to the wider implications of this case, James Preston’s costs should he lose have been capped by the court at £20,000.

You can read more here:

http://my.telegraph.co.uk/expat/annanicholas/10138095/should-expats-have-the-right-to-vote/

http://www.votes-for-expat-brits.com

Rod
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Old Nov 16th 2011, 8:36 am   #80
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Remembrance Day last Friday brought to mind WWII veteran Harry Shindler's BBC interview about his lost voting rights.
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Old Nov 22nd 2011, 2:11 pm   #81
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The main point made in the British government’s latest response to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the Harry Shindler challenge to the 15 year non-residence rule, which limits his voting rights as a long term expatriate in Italy, is that he has failed to exhaust his domestic remedies prior to submitting his application to the ECHR.

Such a remedy is demonstrated by the domestic case of James Preston in which he declares that the 15 year rule is unlawful and that his application to be registered as a voter should be reconsidered on the basis of that declaration.

The government argues that it is the case here that such an available claim under domestic law would provide a realistic basis for achieving the result which, it is claimed , the Human Rights Convention requires.

It is interesting that the above argument also reflects the government’s aim, during its current 6 months chairmanship of the Council of Europe, which oversees the ECHR, for a legal reform which would stop the ECHR from overruling the decisions of British judges e.g. on individual immigration cases.
According to the UK’s Justice Secretary, the ECHR should concentrate instead on more serious issues of principle concerning a member state, or its courts, or its parliament, which arguably breach the European Human Rights Convention and require an international court.

This is becoming an intellectual exercise now the lawyers are involved!
Rod
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Old Nov 27th 2011, 5:12 pm   #82
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

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This is becoming an intellectual exercise now the lawyers are involved!
Rod
.....and so another way to address a political problem is via the media!
With the British public holding its armed forces in high esteem, the government needs to be careful not to upset the media with its treatment of WWII veteran Harry Shindler who put his life on the line for his country when a young soldier as this new article in the Telegraph describes.
Rod
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Old Dec 8th 2011, 2:03 pm   #83
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Default Re: Voting Rights

How can HMG say that he has failed to exhaust his domestic remedies if he has had to go to the EHRC for a resolution.?
On what basis do they base that on.?

I really must say they are mealy mouthed in the Civil Service, its almost as if there is a secret book of "Rules" that they don't let on about. The problem is they will take years to reply to a question knowing full well the individual hasnt got that time. Any new applicant has to start from the begining. It would help if they provided a list but that is probably continually being updated.

Its a shame we are the only ones here making comment on this Rod, perhaps people are just not interested in losing their vote, after all they have already moved out of the UK, so what do they want to vote for.!

Keep up the good work
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Old Dec 8th 2011, 5:58 pm   #84
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

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Originally Posted by Domino View Post
How can HMG say that he has failed to exhaust his domestic remedies if he has had to go to the EHRC for a resolution.?
On what basis do they base that on.?

I really must say they are mealy mouthed in the Civil Service, its almost as if there is a secret book of "Rules" that they don't let on about. The problem is they will take years to reply to a question knowing full well the individual hasnt got that time. Any new applicant has to start from the begining. It would help if they provided a list but that is probably continually being updated.

Its a shame we are the only ones here making comment on this Rod, perhaps people are just not interested in losing their vote, after all they have already moved out of the UK, so what do they want to vote for.!

Keep up the good work
It's good to hear from you again, Domino, and not least with the encouragement for me to at least keep pegging away!
I've just heard that the parallel James Preston voting rights claim against the British government as argued by his legal council in the London High Court has just been turned down but it seems that there still remain some grounds for an appeal.
The road is long but we seem to be winning some sympathetic ears in Westminster, although another objection seems to be that the low number of overseas voters registered on the Electoral Roll indicates a general apathy about their voting rights amongst British expats anyway(which mirrors your last comment above).
Kind regards,
Rod
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Old Dec 17th 2011, 11:06 am   #85
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The free movement of goods, services and citizens of member states is guaranteed by treaty within the European Union (EU). It's interesting then that the high court judgement in London recently went against James Preston in his expatriate voting rights case against the British government. The judges decided that his disenfranchisement after 15 years does not constitute a deterrence to his free movement within the EU.
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Old Dec 22nd 2011, 1:21 pm   #86
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Default Re: Voting Rights

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Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
The free movement of goods, services and citizens of member states is guaranteed by treaty within the European Union (EU). It's interesting then that the high court judgement in London recently went against James Preston in his expatriate voting rights case against the British government. The judges decided that his disenfranchisement after 15 years does not constitute a deterrence to his free movement within the EU.
Rod, doesnt that make for an anomoly??

The freedom of movement within the EU isnt being queried, it is the loss of voting rights. That other countries do allow the voting right to continue after leaving the country is surely what should be aimed for. That the UK goes only part the way and cuts it off at 15 years makes for no sense at all.
It isnt as if the individual will then gain the right to vote in another country - because we know he won't, unless he gives up his birth-right.

"maintain the status quo" isnt surely a decision, it is sitting on the fence, something the British Judiciary is very good at doing.
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Old Dec 22nd 2011, 4:51 pm   #87
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

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"maintain the status quo" isnt surely a decision, it is sitting on the fence, something the British Judiciary is very good at doing.
Hello Domino,
I think you sum it up very well with your "sitting on the fence" description of the attitude our judiciary, which seems to want to give a nod towards the European courts while at the same time not wanting to displease the British politicians.

Happy Christmas
Rod
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Old Jan 3rd 2012, 12:49 pm   #88
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Quote:
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Hello Domino,
I think you sum it up very well with your "sitting on the fence" description of the attitude our judiciary, which seems to want to give a nod towards the European courts while at the same time not wanting to displease the British politicians.

Happy Christmas
Rod
Hi Rod
apologies for not responding earlier, was using a borrowed computer but having completed the move, have now got my own desktop out of the box and can wish you a happy and fruitful New Year in your private life as well as in your endeavours to get more interest in the Voting Rights of Expats by both those Expats and the legislators who are dragging their heels.

I also see there have been over 2000 hits on this thread so there is some interest out there, just not many wishing to contribute at the moment, so Happy New Year to all of you, and if you have something to say please come in and have a chat, but sorry, you will have to bring your own coffee.

kind regards
Dom
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Old Jan 4th 2012, 1:54 pm   #89
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Hi Rod
apologies for not responding earlier, was using a borrowed computer but having completed the move, have now got my own desktop out of the box and can wish you a happy and fruitful New Year in your private life as well as in your endeavours to get more interest in the Voting Rights of Expats by both those Expats and the legislators who are dragging their heels.

I also see there have been over 2000 hits on this thread so there is some interest out there, just not many wishing to contribute at the moment, so Happy New Year to all of you, and if you have something to say please come in and have a chat, but sorry, you will have to bring your own coffee.

kind regards
Dom
Hello Domino,
It's good to note the continuing interest with over 2000 hits on the thread encouraging me to keep plugging away at the theme of voting rights.
The UK is currently chairing the European Council which also oversees the European Court of Human Rights (and is actually not an EU court). The British government also seems to be minded to reform the way the ECHR operates, being more than irritated it seems by e.g. the court's contrary (to that of the British government's view) ruling on prisoners' voting rights, individual immigration cases etc. It thinks the court should concentrate instead on more major issues such as basic freedom and torture etc. There's also talk of a time-out option on long running cases to cut the backlog of some 150,000 cases. I just hope the Harry Shindler case doesn't become a casualty of this conflict. It seems perverse that the government wants the ECHR to concentrate on major issues but defends its own stance on voting rights by countering that the democratic right to universal suffrage (a major issue I would suggest) does not yet form part of the European electoral heritage (the latter ironically also as a result of a previous British government negotiation!).
My best wishes for the New Year also (I can taste that coffee already!),
Rod
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Old Jan 14th 2012, 12:43 pm   #90
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

It's good to get some more positive observations from the House of Lords on the problems facing British overseas voters!.
View this video link to the 12th January, 2012 debate in the House of Lords on Electoral Registration.

Fast forward the timer by 42 minutes to listen to Lord Lexden calling for the removal of the 15-year-limit on overseas voting rights, which he views as essentially discriminating against British overseas voters compared with the way other advanced democracies treat their expatriates. Baroness Kennedy of The Helms and then Lord Astor who follow Lord Lexden, also address the ineffectiveness of the postal voting system which, due to the tight timescale, basically disenfranchises overseas voters for every election.
The full transcript of the debate can be found here.
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