by RAY FLEMING

5.40pm Thursday June 12, 2003. I have just exercised my democratic right and voted NO in the Daily Mail's National Referendum on whether there should be a subsequent referendum on the so-called constitution of the European Union. This is what happened: I dialled the UK number for NO votes given on page 6 of the newspaper: 870 3333 852. A recorded voice welcomed me and asked for my telephone number, while assuring me that it would not be passed on to anyone else. I did not give my number but after three or four seconds a voice briefly explained that the Constitution would be considered by Parliament and confirmed that my No vote against a referendum had been registered, adding that I should not forget to buy a copy of the Mail on Tuesday 17th to see the result. 5.52pm Thursday June 12, 2003. I have just repeated the procedure described above with exactly the same outcome. Clearly, I could go on voting every minute or so until midnight when the poll closes. But it wouldn't be worth the cost. I have looked very carefully at the different methods of voting available, including at 6'500 polling stations, by internet/e-mail, or by text. Nowhere is there any statement about how the principle of one person one vote will be observed. The ballot paper contains this statement: “I am over 18 and have only voted once (tick here).” This is a worthless safeguard. Clearly, multiple voting by one means or another will be easy and thus the whole concept of the ballot is invalid. The Daily Mail is setting a dangerous precedent.

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