Wednesday, April 27, 2005

First time voters

Over the past few days the British media have been deluging us with stories of small children who have received polling cards for the general election. To the gleeful parents of said children, I have a few things to say.

To receive a polling card, a person must be on the electoral register. If your baby has received a polling card, then they have clearly been registered to vote as though they were adults.

There are only two ways I can see this happening. The most obvious explanation is that you were unable to follow simple instructions when filling in the registration form that came through your door, and are now basking in inadvertant glory without a hint of shame at your incapability.

The more cynical explanation is that you knew exactly what you were doing when you filled in that form with your baby's name, and were already thinking which newspapers you could contact when the inevitable polling card dropped through the letterbox.

Either way, I must thank you for pointing out yet another flaw in our electoral system. Of course, no baby, no matter how cute and dribbly, is going to be able to turn up at the polling station with their card clutched in a tiny tight fist and be allowed to vote. But if one year old people can be registered to vote, what's to stop imaginary people being registered? Some unscrupulous person could get three cards in three different names and go along three times. You'd hope someone might notice the same face showing up more than once, but you wouldn't put money on it.

Don't even get me started on postal voting, which seems to me to be about as secure as sending off for a free sample...Try democracy for one election, and if you don't get the desired results, next time you can sell your vote to your neighbour!


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