There is no evidence of widespread, let alone systematic, electoral fraud in Australia.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters stated in its report on the 2004 Federal Election:

The Committee has examined allegations of electoral fraud in its reports on each of the last six Federal Elections… to date the Committee has had no evidence to indicate there has been widespread electoral fraud…

Try telling that to the H S Chapman Society, a stalwart band of conspiracy theorists. Their doughty president, Dr Amy McGrath, is always ready with an allegation of electoral rorting.

Alan Jones listens to them. No reputable student of campaigns and elections does.

Still, it’s a free country, so the H S Chapman Society was able to join in the jamboree of democracy on 24 November, when a Crikey reader spotted this sign in that hotbed of conspiracy, the polling booth at St Anthony’s Parish Hall in Marsfield in Bennelong.

The sign warns:

This Booth Under Surveillance. Penalty $6,600* For Intentionally Voting More Than Once In This Election. *and/or 12 Months Imprisonment. Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, Section 339 (1C).

The Australian Electoral Commission states in Electoral Backgrounder 14: Electoral Fraud and Multiple Voting:

It has been concluded by every parliamentary and judicial inquiry into the conduct of federal elections, since the AEC was established as an independent statutory authority in 1984, that there has been no widespread or organised attempt to defraud the electoral system … and that the level of fraudulent enrolment and voting is not sufficient to have overturned the result in any Division in Australia. That is, there is no evidence to suggest that the overall outcomes of the 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 1998 federal elections were affected by fraudulent enrolment and voting

Labor candidate Maxine McKew claimed victory in Bennelong on Saturday.

John Howard has not foreshadowed an appeal to the Court of Disputed Returns on the grounds of electoral fraud.

Perhaps the H S Chapman Society’s signs worked.