Sadiq Khan Demands Mail-in Voting for London Mayoral Election

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 09: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan listens to speeches at the opening of the London Remembrance Gallery in City Hall on November 09, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France …
Leon Neal/Getty Images

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the expansion of postal voting in the upcoming local elections, claiming that the “disproportionate” effect of the Chinese coronavirus on ethnic minorities and the elderly will reduce voter turnout.

Mr Khan has been serving as the unelected Mayor of London for nearly a whole extra year after the regular elections were cancelled in March of 2020 during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Constitution Minister Chloe Smith, Khan demanded that the government fund the distribution of postal voting forms to every household in the areas having elections this May.

“I am still concerned at the potential for low voter turnout, given the circumstances under which the elections will be held,” the mayor wrote, per The Independent.

“We know that the virus disproportionately affects Bame people, as well as older and vulnerable people, and we must ensure that they are similarly not disproportionately affected when it comes to being able to cast their vote.

“I welcome the government’s move to make it easier to vote by proxy and the publication of the Election Delivery Plan, but I urge you to go further.

“I am therefore calling on you to launch a widespread public awareness campaign on postal vote registration [and] make further funding available to local authorities to send postal vote registration forms to every household.”

Mr Khan claimed that the issue of postal voting is not a “party political issue” but is rather about maximising “participation in our democracy”.

The Conservative government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this month that it would be introducing a voter ID requirement in elections starting from 2023.

The Electoral Integrity Bill will also reportedly introduce measures to prevent abuse of the postal and proxy voting systems. However, the government has yet to explain what rules will be set in place to prevent abuse.

Mail-in voting was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2001 under former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair and has since been dogged by instances of voter fraud.

In 2005, for example, Labour councillors Shafaq Ahmed, Shah Jahan, Ayaz Khan, Mohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal, and Mohammed Kazi were all found guilty of electoral fraud after it was found that they had set up a  “vote-forging factory” in Birmingham, bolstering their election changes with fake postal ballots.

In another notable example, the supporters of Britain’s first directly-elected Muslim mayor, Luftur Rahman, were accused of “buying votes with public money, and committing postal vote fraud on an industrial scale.”

A forensic handwriting expert found that “one quarter” of sampled postal ballots “appeared, in each case, to be written in the same ink”.

Other examples of voter fraud in the postal system have also been recorded in Tower Hamlets and Bradford.

The London Mayor election will be held on May 6th.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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