Bribery In Voting – Can We Ever Solve it? Election Fraud is A Serious Problem!.

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Audley Phillip

Bribery In Voting – Can We Ever Solve it?  Election Fraud is A Serious Problem!.

……………by   Audley Phillip

As we head into the much anticipated by election in St. Mary’s South, there has been much talk about political inducement or bribes and the role it is  playing in this all important seat for both the ABLP and the UPP.

Sadly, inducements or bribes have long been a part of our political landscape   and it is something that has all been made normal and almost  acceptable in every election cycle.  The only reason why the spotlight is placed on it now, is because  we are concentrating  on a single constituency poll as opposed to a  broader general elections poll.  All focus and attention has shifted to St. Marys South and it is clear that the stakes are  enormously high as we go into the final days before voting takes place.

So what exactly is an inducement or bribe?  An indictment or bribe is an object , situation or an action that is used as a means to influence another person’s behaviour.  Inducements or bribes can range from minor acts, to acts that result in infringement of election laws and regulations.  Inducements or bribes can take many different forms, for example, gifts, hospitality entertainment, political or charitable donations, appeals to friendship and loyalty, employment or other commercial opportunity or preferential treatment, and so much more.

Whenever voting is involved, one question is ubiquitous.  How can one tell if the results have been skewed due to bribing  of the voters?   Democracy is a system where people vote for solving issues or to make governance decisions.  In the simplest cases, the majority wins, which has its own problem.

Money is power, freedom,  a cushion, the root of  all evil and the sum of blessings.  Money is power and king in voting schemes. The problem is that in most cases, and with most voting, the actors are not all honest.  When bribers target the right people,  especially those who are willing  to sell their votes, the party with the most money wins.  Regardless of what is being decided by a vote, there should be no room for any type of bribery.  But that is in the real world.

Instead of platforms, merit and credibility, cash has become a determining factor for who wins in most elections these days.  The influx of cash from all kinds of nefarious sources  and groups sways leaders regardless of what is in the public best interest.  The introduction of money into politics has allowed politicians to buy leverage that alters the fabric of our economy and country.

There is no easy or quick fix to this but if we do not do something about these political inducements and bribes as well as the overall influence of money in our politics, all our elected representatives would be tarnished now and into the foreseeable future.

Until we have meaningful electoral reform where handing out these inducement are made wrong  and punishable, money will continue to influence our elections.,

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