Attempts by Cameron to swing the Referendum vote his way

On June 8th in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Cameron announced that he was trying to get the Electoral Commission, which is set up to be entirely independent of the government, to extend the deadline for registration to vote in the EU Referendum from midnight on June 7th because he wanted to “allow as many people as possible to take part in the Referendum” as if it were some sort of game.  This announcement followed complaints by many of those attempting to register on-line from 10 pm until the deadline at midnight, that the registration website was not coping with the large numbers of people attempting to register at the last minute.  To satisfy these complaints, an extension of 24 hours at the most would appear more than enough.

In fact the Electoral Commission has permitted a 48 hour extension to the registration period to midnight on the 9th June.

Why has Cameron acted in this way? Because he believes that a lot of young people who have not bothered to register so far, can be persuaded by the government media to register now, and are disproportionately likely to vote “Remain”, i.e. for his side.

The Electoral Commission set up in 2001, is bound by its own rules and the Law, much of which concerns voter registration. Fifteen days before a vote is really the very shortest period required to do checks on would-be voters and provide a complete register to the returning officers in each constituency.  Now this period has been cut to 13 days to please the Remain Campaign.

Cameron should not be allowed to tamper with electoral rules and procedures. The Electoral Commission needs to be held to account on this and the other contemporary issue of management of the electoral process.  It has been slow to act on the fact that in one constituency at least Referendum postal ballot papers have been sent to EU nationals not entitled to vote.

Cypriot and Maltese citizens are allowed to vote because of (bizarrely) their countries’ membership of the Commonwealth. The 390,000 citizens of the Republic of Ireland, resident in the UK, are also allowed to register and vote in British General Elections because of a left over arrangement dating back to 1922, when the Irish Free State (long gone) was set up.

Only bona fide British citizens registered to vote should be allowed to vote in any British election or referendum now and in the future.

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