ballot paper
On Thursday I went to vote. Now those who have known me for some time will probably be aware that I treat the democratic process in this country with a degree of scorn and derision. In fact I used to have a quote from Jello Biafra on my old blog at the top which said “If voting really changed anything they’d have made it illegal.” Call me cynical if you like but you see my point.

I have spoken to people in person and written about the sham of the secret ballot in this country before. I suspect this is not the only country that behaves thus neither in the Western World nor other parts of the globe, it would be ridiculously naive to believe it were, and equally naive to think that it is only poorer less stable countries that would do so, however in terms of personal experience this is the only one I have direct knowledge of. At previous elections I have highlighted the process by which it is easily possible for the establishment to find out what any individual has voted should it ever wish to do so. I have not made any specific judgement as to whether or not it goes on, I do not need to, the very fact that it would be possible should be enough to worry anyone that does not wish to live in a totalitarian state.

If it isn’t enough that our emails, websearches, mobile phone calls etc. are key searched and logged accordingly. Menwith Hill, the FBI, MI5 having over 400,000 files on UK citizens, it’s enough to make any genuine lefty feel they’re out to get you. (It isn’t paranoia if they really are out to get you!)

I have seen this system at every vote I have attended but never so blatant and so technological as it is now. I will detail the chronology and what I saw and leave you to make up your own minds, but if this is what is going on elsewhere then it is a very worrying trend indeed.

I am used to the polling card having a number on it – this number being essentially your ID tag, it identifies you at your address, the number is unique. So you turn up at the polling station with your card and usualy your name is checked on the list of eligible voters followed by you being issued with a voting slip. The voting slip is traditionally torn from like a raffle ticket book ie it is in 2 parts, the part you get, and the part you don’t, the counterfoil which remains in the book.

This time it seems that this system was a little too arbitrary, a little too arcane for the current establishment it needed an overhaul, a technological solution for a 21st centrury surveilance state. And by Christ they’ve cracked it. When I arrived my name was ticked off as usual but then a more random sounding number was read out and written against my name in the electoral list. Upon closer inspection of my ballot paper I found that on the back was not only an elaborate serial number (the number that had obviously been read out upon my being handed the paper) but also a bloody bar code. Time was when the number on the back of the ballot paper was small and in the corner, almost embarrassed to be there. Now it is all there bold as brass ready to be scanned into a database of insurgence.

The information on what the barcode process is supposed to be used for is detailed by the government here.

What I find somewhat incredulous is that if you run a Google search for Ballot Paper barcodes there appears to be no article concerning worries about the sanctity of the secret ballot. I mean even about the most elaborate conspiracy theory you get some stuff, but on this one the country at large appears unmoved.

Thus the ballot paper is now genuinely unique, your dissidence captured for all time just in case. Who’s to say they’ll use it, this lot, or even the next lot, but how sure are you, are you willing to place your complete trust in them that they won’t? If so, then you’re a more trusting soul than I am, but then I’m a cynic aren’t I?

Song Of The Day ~Maximo Park – The Unshockable