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How the Electoral Commission came to embody Britain’s political crisis

What happens if we stop trusting elections? As accusations of bias abound—and concerns are raised over the bodies that regulate political life—faith in democracy is in a perilous position

By Steve Bloomfield   December 2019

Public trust in voting could be at risk. Photo: Prospect composite

During the course of the 1826 general election, Quintin Dick’s bar bill came to £4,000—none of the drinks were for him. Dick, who represented six different constituencies from 1800 to 1852, was not the only politician in the 19th century buying votes but he was perhaps the most brazen. In one election, knowing it was illegal for the candidate himself to hand out money, he had his wife walk a few yards behind him, giving gold…

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