Replace cardboard ballot boxes

Keith Blake, Ottery

On Wednesday August 3, my wife Tina and I exercised our democratic right to cast our precious vote for the political party we believe has influenced us in the positive mood for our political future.

At our voting station we went through the first process of having our identity books scanned by an official and we were each issued with a receipt.

Inside we were first checked via our identity books if we were indeed legally registered to vote. We then had an ink stripe placed on our thumb and nail.

We were given two voting papers and then we each went to a cubicle and there in relatively screened space, we made our secret votes. We then folded the papers and went to two small cardboard boxes and had to shove our voting papers into the box. To ensure that the papers were safely in the box, a lady used a flat ruler to push them down and this in a way reminded me of shoving a bullet in the barrel of an ancient “voor-laaier” musket of the old Voortrekkers.As I walked out I could not get those ballot boxes and the final procedure out of my mind because it seemed a little odd, but I left it.

Last week, while ignoring all my favourite television channels on crime, detective stories and animals, I was patriotically glued to the channels reflecting the political outcome of the elections and then, like a bad political joke, it was reported that there were some ballot boxes found which were not in the constitionalised custody of the electoral commission

Then it struck me why I had small doses of doubt as I saw the light flimsy ballot boxes and no final official recognition on the blank side of the ballot papers, which could eleviate voter fraud or voter theft. I want to make a voter’s proposal to ensure that next time round, the safe-keeping of the ballot boxes and the procedures is guaranteed.

My proposal is that the cardboard ballot boxes be replaced by heavy, long bright red metal boxes with three or more keys with a slit like that of a postbox where the voters can push their ballot papers through. Inside the slit of the box should be a plate that allows no votes to be taken out. These “Voter safes” will ensure complete control of the ballot boxes which cannot get “lost” as in the case of light-as-a-feather cardboard boxes. My other proposal is that when we the voters make our crosses, the folded ballot papers should have an official stamp placed on them by an electoral official.

The following quote by James Buchanan states my point on how safe our votes must be: “The ballot box is the surest arbiter among free men.”