Have you ever noticed how easy it would be to make a list of exactly who voted for whom in every election?

When you go to vote, you are asked for your voter number.  This is written either on a list against the number of the ballot paper you are given or on the counterfoil of the ballot paper and it is written very carefully by the poll clerk – almost good enough to be read by machine…

This creates a link between your ballot paper and your voter number, which is linked to the electoral register which contains your name and address.  There is therefore an information chain linking your name to your cross.

If you chose to have a postal ballot, your ballot paper has a number which is duplicated on your postal voting statement, which has your name and address on it and your voter number, making a similar link.

Under the Representation of the People Act 1983, after the election the Returning Officers have to ensure that all ballot papers, counterfoils and the polling clerks’ marked copies of the electoral register are safely deposited with the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.

All such documents are supposed to be officially sealed so that there is no chance of interference by any party and, according to the 1983 act, the seal can only be broken by the order of the High Court or Parliament itself.  In practice ballot papers are simply bundled up into paper sacks and transported to a warehouse in Hayes, Middlesex, for the statutory period of one year and one day.

In his book The Freedom Of Information Handbook, David Northmore claims that he has seen sacks of ballot papers splitting in transport and spilling everywhere.

He adds that in 1981 Gordon Winter, a former agent of BOSS, the South African Secret Service, writing in his book, Inside Boss, claimed that the South African government knew the identity of everyone who voted for the Communist Party of Great Britain – thanks to British intelligence using this simple vote-tracing procedure.

Now, if all the ballot papers, the polling officers’ lists and the electoral rolls were to be fed into a computer programme which sorts the paperwork into the same order, a master list could be created listing every single vote that each person has ever cast for any party alongside that person’s name and address.

And if this is possible, do you imagine that any government would have been able to resist doing so?

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