It’s been well established that the Republican notion of widespread voter fraud (and their usual solution of implementing voter ID laws) in the U.S. is a big old lie, a fig leaf to cover their true goal of making it harder for likely Democratic voters to cast their ballots. Thanks to Republicans dominating our state legislatures, it’s been a pretty effective lie. Over the past few years, the Conservative party in the UK has seen this highly successful strategy play out and thought hey, maybe we should try that? The latest result: Exactly one conviction for voter fraud stemming from the 2017 election.
According to the BBC, “hundreds” of complaints were made to the Electoral Commission about people voting twice, largely based on social media posts, calling to mind one particularly successful troll from the 2016 election:
The vanishingly rare incidence of voter fraud has not deterred the Electoral Commission from partnering with Crimestoppers, an independent crime-fighting charity, to produce “a poster and video campaign” ahead of the local elections in the UK this May. Yet the Electoral Commission also said that “based on the data recorded by police forces, there is currently no evidence of any large-scale cases of proven electoral fraud relating to the polls held during 2017,” according to the BBC. Better just do a nationwide poster and video campaign just in case, anyway. A good use of money.
The UK’s Conservative government has also taken several steps to erode the right to vote, all copied from the Republican playbook. In 2015, the Conservative government eliminated automatic voting registration, making voters register themselves for the first time, which caused an estimated 800,000 people to lose their registration—many of whom were students, who just so happen to vote Labour in much higher numbers. The current Conservative government, which is hanging on by a thread after a beautiful self-own of an election, announced in September it would start voter ID trials in several constituencies, including both photo ID and a system based on individual polling cards with barcodes.
In a way, I’m glad that the country of my birth is becoming as stupid as my adopted homeland. Just feels right.