Monday, October 14, 2013

Justice for electoral fraud?

Three years ago, Labour local body candidate Daljit Singh allegedly conspired to redirect postal ballots in the Auckland supercity elections in the hope of gaining election by fraud. Today, he finally went on trial for those offences:

A leader of New Zealand's small Sikh community has pleaded not guilty to forging election documents in a bid to win a local body election three years ago.

In the High Court in Auckland today Labour Party member and Sikh leader Daljit Singh faces 20 charges of forging documents to change residential addresses showing that people from places like Timaru and Tauranga appeared to live in the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board area.

Singh was a candidate in the first super city election in 2010.

"In a sentence, he and his associates . . . carried out a fraud in the election system to try and assist Daljit Singh," Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey told the jury of 10 women and two men.

I understand that the Electoral Commission has tightened up the procedure around changing addresses since then, but it should never have allowed it to be so lax in the first place. Meanwhile, the above suggests that Singh is still a member of the Labour Party. If so, I'm appalled. Electoral fraud has no place in our democracy, and someone tainted by the allegation should not be accepted as a member of a political party.