Posts tagged "electoral commission"

Electoral Commission may have made a mistake but Vote Leave still broke the law

14/09/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission may have made a mistake but Vote Leave still broke the law”

The High Court has ruled that the Electoral Commission (EC) misunderstood the law regarding donations. Vote Leave in light of this ruling now claim they only gave the donation because the EC said it was permissible in an email correspondence, wilfully  ignoring the clear stipulation in the same email that coordination would make any donation unlawful. Coordination is exactly what the EC found Vote Leave and BeLeave guilty of.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said “We’ve said from the very beginning of this whole sorry affair that the Electoral Commission needs more powers and deep reform and we welcome Matthew Elliott’s consensus on this matter.

The key thing to remember here is that this ruling by the High Court does not in any way invalidate the ruling the EC reached, the EC did not at any point advise Vote Leave that they could break Common Plan Expenditure rules, meaning Vote Leave still broke the law. This crucial fact seems to be missing in the reactions to the High Court ruling.

The EC clearly states on their website following their investigation that they found overwhelming evidence of a common plan. In the emails from the EC that Matthew Elliott has published on Brexit Central it is clear that any donation would be considered unlawful if made under a common plan.

The EC’s misleading advice around spending laws indicates we must have comprehensive reform to make our laws clearer and more democratic but this ruling does not change the simple fact that Vote Leave and BeLeave engaged in illegal campaign coordination. As much as Matthew Elliott tries to obfuscate the truth, we cannot ignore that Vote Leave and BeLeave are responsible for breaking the law.

The Electoral Commission is the most important election regulator in this country. We must ensure that it is operating properly and that our laws reflect the realities of modern campaigning. The fact that yet more is coming to light regarding errors made in the Brexit referendum should give decision-makers pause for thought.

Matthew Elliott and other Brexiteers are using this ruling to once again deny responsibility for their own crimes. They have spent the past few months denigrating one of the fundamental institutions of our democracy, the Electoral Commission and are now being purposefully deceptive to cast even more doubt on our democratic process.

While Vote Leave will claim they were given misleading advice and therefore cannot be held accountable, we mustn’t forget that ignorance of the law is not and has never been a get out jail free card.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/vote-leave-fined-and-referred-to-the-police-for-breaking-electoral-law

Fair Vote UK’s proposed Electoral Commission reforms: https://fairvote.uk/home/electoral-reform/

Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.

17/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.”

In light of the Electoral Commission’s report on Vote Leave, BeLeave and Veterans for Britain, confirming Shahmir Sanni’s whistleblower evidence of overspend and illegal campaign coordination, it is more clear than ever that the EU referendum was won by cheating and law-breaking. We must have a fair vote and Parliament must act now to ensure our future elections are not marred by cheating and corruption.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK said: “The Electoral Commission has uncovered far more law-breaking than even we had believed occurred. The Government needs to take urgent action to deal with the fact the referendum is now illegitimate. We need to wake up and start fighting for our democracy.

These problems will not solve themselves. Until there are adequate deterrents against cheating, bad actors will continue to take advantage of our democracy and break the law. This is unacceptable. Elections and referenda have serious consequences and cheating in these campaigns must be punished.

When the Electoral Commission suspects wrongdoing in elections, these allegations should be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the police. The cap on fines should be lifted. Currently, fines given by the Electoral Commission are small enough that they are just the cost of doing business. We must build a system that holds people accountable for their actions.

Parliament must act immediately to implement common sense electoral reforms. The Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave, BeLeave, and Veterans for Britain misreported their campaign spending. Campaigns should be reporting their spending online, as MPs do with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. In referenda, the designated campaign should no longer be allowed to donate money to other groups. Perhaps most importantly, we should regulate paid political digital advertising in the election period with a Digital Bill of Rights for Democracy.”

We must have laws which reflect our current realities. The Electoral Commission’s report makes clear that our current system is not fit to purpose. With such monumental decisions such as Brexit at stake, we cannot stand by and allow our democratic processes to be denigrated and our votes cheated. Parliament must act and we must have fair votes for all.”

Letter to the Prime Minister

05/07/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Letter to the Prime Minister”

According to Vote Leave, Electoral Commission set to rule that they broke electoral law

04/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “According to Vote Leave, Electoral Commission set to rule that they broke electoral law”

Electoral Commission is set to say Vote Leave cheated in the Brexit referendum and broke electoral law, according to Vote Leave themselves.

Christopher Wylie said: ‘If sanctions are issued against Vote Leave or their affiliates, this means the law was broken. This means that cheating occurred in the referendum. The law demands our elections are free and fair. Electoral crimes are real crimes. In any other arena, if players are caught cheating, they get disqualified. For something as important as an irrevocable change to Britain’s constitutional law, how can we tolerate a vote tainted with cheating?’

Shahmir Sanni said: ‘If this is true, the evidence that I brought forward in March has been confirmed. Vote Leave used BeLeave to break electoral law. This means criminal offences occurred and it is imperative that we take this seriously. We must ask why cabinet ministers denied anything was wrong and why Number 10 sought to discredit the evidence that was brought forward. We must question why we are putting the law second and party politics first. I’m waiting for the report, but just for clarity, I told you so.’

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: ‘This looks like an attempt to intimidate the EC before it has reached its final decision.

They say they’ll challenge the findings in court – fine. When the court agrees with the EC will they then admit they broke the law and accept their punishment?

Facts are facts. Whether they like it or not the fact is they cheated. Just because you don’t like the fact doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t like that only eating ice cream and only drinking beer is unhealthy. That doesn’t make it any less true. The fact is, they cheated.

This is an important moment that should lead to change. We believe Parliament should transfer the Electoral Commission’s investigative and prosecutorial powers to the police. ​We believe the Electoral Commission works best as a regulator and policy body. When there are grounds to suspect electoral offences have been committed, it should refer wrongdoing to the police with a recommendation that it is investigated promptly by either specialist fraud officers or specialist electoral offence officers’

Electoral Commission urges Parliament to act

26/06/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission urges Parliament to act”

Electoral Commission agree that our democracy is under threat, ask for urgent reform

For the last four months The Fair Vote Project have been campaigning for necessary Electoral Commission (EC) reform to protect our democracy after whistleblower evidence came to light suggesting cheating in the Brexit referendum. On Monday the EC, themselves, announced that ‘urgent’ reforms were needed because our democracy “may be under threat” by the very campaigns that fought for Brexit.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: ‘After the recent revelations about alleged cheating in the Brexit referendum and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s more clear than ever that our electoral system is not fit to purpose.

We applaud yesterday’s announcement by the Electoral Commission – the authority on UK elections – demanding their powers be strengthened. Civil society and our election watchdog not only agree that reform is needed but also on what reform should be. Now, Parliament must respond and implement these reforms to protect our democracy. Until these reforms are instituted, our democratic systems will remain vulnerable to cheating. We cannot in good conscience have another election without ensuring our polls are free and fair.”

Mark Zuckerberg Ignores Summons

18/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Mark Zuckerberg Ignores Summons”

Mark Zuckerberg will not answer MPs’ questions despite being issued with a formal summons

Facebook today announced that Mark Zuckerberg will not be appearing before MPs following the Electoral Commission’s appearance in front of the DCMS select committee today. Jeff Silvester, Chief Operating Officer of AIQ, the Canadian data company faced with allegations of illegal campaign coordination in the referendum with Vote Leave, BeLeave and several other campaign groups is set to appear before the committee tomorrow.

Facebook failed to answer some of the DCMS select committee’s key questions of how UK Facebook users were manipulated and influenced in the 2016 referendum. Some of the most important questions, such as from where AIQ received their data for who to target or how much overlap there was between the ads AIQ made for Vote Leave, BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the DUP Vote to Leave went unanswered. Hopefully Mr Silvester will shed some much needed clarification on these vital inquiries.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “No one is shocked that Zuckerberg has refused to stand before Parliament to explain the potentially illegal conduct of his company, conduct that may have allowed others to heavily manipulate voters during the Brexit referendum and thereby making a mockery of our democratic processes. And once again, shows how little respect Facebook has for the countries they operate in and the citizens’ data they use to profit from. It has been nearly two years since the referendum. The fact that Facebook still cannot provide the DCMS select committee with exactly what ads UK Facebook users saw leading up to the referendum is disgraceful. Elections have long lasting consequences and if Facebook and other social media companies can not quickly and efficiently pinpoint when their advertisers are breaking local electoral laws or spreading misinformation, we must ensure that regulatory bodies like the Electoral Commission have the power to intervene in a meaningful way.

The Electoral Commission’s testimony today to the DCMS select committee said that if reform was to happen it needs to be wholesale to be effective, this is something we are backing. Their suggestions for reform match what The Fair Vote Project is calling for: namely, fines that fit the crime rather than the current cap that is seen by many to simply be the cost of doing business, greater enforcement powers, ideally prosecutorial powers and a better way of reporting spending. The Fair Vote Project believes a report-as-you-spend system should be put in place to ensure transparency and fairness in real time.

It’s been months since the revelations from whistleblowers were made public and yet nothing has changed, cheating can still happen in elections and referenda – as we see happening in Ireland right now. There needs to be immediate, wholesale reform of the institutions entrusted to make sure our elections are free and fair so that we no longer need to rely on whether or not Facebook deigns to get its house in order or turn up for questioning.”

The Fair Vote Project was set up to tackle this issue head-on. Our whistleblower secure channels are open to anyone who has evidence of cheating by any party in the referendum. We are committed to securing a fair vote and ensuring the Electoral Commission is fit for purpose in a digital age.

The Fair Vote Project has taken the decision to publish the whistleblower evidence for everyone to see. The evidence we have so far can be seen on our website, because the public deserve to know the truth about what’s happening in our democracy.

Our Platform of Electoral Reforms

24/04/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Our Platform of Electoral Reforms”

The Fair Vote Project has spent the past few weeks spreading the evidence released by whistleblowers which suggest cheating in the referendum. We must ensure this does not happen again.

The Fair Vote Project has developed a simple four-part platform of necessary electoral reforms to strengthen and protect our democracy:

 

These reforms are vital and attainable. We must demand our Members of Parliaments act to create fair laws to protect our rights of democracy and sovereignty. Contact your MP and let them know where you stand.

Share our platform on twitter and Facebook to take a stand for electoral reform.