to cast a vote: stemmen, een stem uitbrengen.
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to cast a vote: stemmen, een stem uitbrengen. chicanery (hier): valsspelen. constituency: kiesdistrict. poll: aantal uitgebrachte stemmen. proliferation: verbreiding. to pull the wool over someone's eyes: iemand voor de gek houden. to roam around: rondlopen. to strike at the heart of: schade toebrengen aan. In the magazine article and the other web article this week, I argue that the proliferation of postal voting in tomorrow's British general election will be a disaster that will ruin Britain's reputation for conducting free and fair elections. It strikes at the heart of what has made British elections so free and fair up to now. This is its primitive simplicity. For one thing, the electoral system is so simple that even an idiot can understand it. In each constituency, there is one MP to be elected. The people in each constituency vote for one candidate only. The candidate with the most votes becomes the MP. End of story. No computer calculations are involved. In these circumstances, the opportunities for pulling the wool over people's eyes about results are non-existent. But more important in this respect is that the process of voting and counting the votes is so public. You go to your appointed polling station, you show some proof of identity, your name is ticked off on the electoral register (so you cannot come along later and vote again). When the polls have closed, the ballot boxes from the various polling stations are all taken to a central place in the constituency - somewhere with a really big hall, where the boxes are opened and the votes cast for each candidate can be counted. The count is a very public event and it is done by people, not machines. Representatives of the candidates are allowed to roam around at will inspecting the count and in many cases members of the public can watch from a distance and TV cameras will be there as well. When all the votes have been counted, the Returning Officer (the person responsible for the conduct of the election in the constituency), together with the candidates, gets up onto a stage or some other place functioning as a podium and announces the votes cast for each candidate and who, therefore, the MP for the constituency is. Only when this verbal declaration takes place does the result become official. The opportunities for chicanery and behind the scenes dealing in this ritual process are, again, virtually non-existent because everything is done by human beings in each other's physical presence. It is this great advantage which the government has partially thrown away by allowing widespread postal voting and which it is thinking of throwing further away if it allows internet voting in the future.