Peter Golds: We must restore integrity
By Peter Golds
In 1872 Parliament introduced the Ballot Act to provide secrecy in voting, establishing what was to be known worldwide as a "public act in private".
A few years later the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act gave to this country one of the most secure and envied electoral systems anywhere.
However, recent changes have seen cracks in this system.
The vast increase in postal voting has resulted in a private act in public becoming a potentially public act in a private place.
In France, and indeed most of Europe, postal voting is almost unknown yet 80 per cent of the electorate voted in the recent presidential election.
At the same time anybody presenting themselves to vote requires some form of identification.
In this country it is more difficult to obtain a library book than a ballot paper.
As a result concerns have arisen about the probity of elections. If the voters think their vote will not matter because of fraud, then turnout will fall even further.
Parliament is currently looking at election law.
Individual registration, a reduction of postal voting on demand and the requirement, as is the current practice in Northern Ireland, to produce some ID when voting will go a long way to restoring integrity to our system.
■ Peter Golds is Conservative councillor for Blackwall & Cubitt Town