On this topic, many years ago while canvassing locally and perusing the voting register I noted several addresses in the ward that had a significant number of postal votes; in some cases twenty or more. On asking the agent were these houses in multiple occupation, (HMOs) he glanced over and said, that, no, these were care homes.
‘Do they all, vote? I mean, even those with dementia and Alzheimers?’
He didn’t know.
‘Were any checks made to see if everyone was still living? This list could have been drawn up a year or more ago.’
He didn’t know that either. The Marked Register (those who had actually voted) wouldn’t be available for months, and we would have to pay for it, and frankly we couldn’t afford it. It would be well out of date by the next election anyway.
Second revelation was knocking on doors and finding that scores of houses which were supposedly single occupancy, – benefitting from a reduced community charge – had several occupants, sometimes many.
Typical conversation would start with me smiling and a greeting. ‘Good afternoon, are you Mr. Jones?’ This was often met with a puzzled denial followed by a short confab with other occupants. I would be told Mr. Jones was unknown, didn’t live there or he was the landlord. So none of those who lived there were on the register and the one individual who was on the register didn’t. In local elections which are won or lost a few votes I saw enough of that to question the integrity of the so called democratic system.
This sort of thing, with variations, happened so frequently that when I learned the then most recent census reported there were fewer residents than the previous decade, I was incredulous and raised it at various political meetings. No one was interested, yet it was on the basis of census returns that the government allocated resources.