Six Labour councillors were today found guilty of an electoral fraud "that would disgrace a banana republic", a judge said.
Richard Mawrey QC, sitting as an election commissioner, criticised the current postal voting system and warned that unless changes were made, electoral fraud would "continue unabated".
In Tuesday's Birmingham Post:
In-depth coverage of the Birmingham vote fraud trial including profiles of the six guilty councillors, reaction and comment from City leaders and a review of the explosive evidence heard during the trial.
The judge found "overwhelming" evidence of widespread vote-rigging during the local election ballot in Birmingham last June and today he ordered re-runs of the polls in two wards.
He told the court that in the course of preparing his judgment, his attention was drawn to a Government statement about postal voting which said there were no proposals to change the rules governing election procedures for the next ballot.
The statement maintained: "The systems already in place to deal with the allegations of electoral fraud are clearly working."
But Mr Mawrey told the packed courtroom at the Birmingham and Midland Institute: "Anybody who has sat through the case I have just tried and listened to evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic would find this statement surprising.
"To assert that 'the systems already in place to deal with the allegations of electoral fraud are clearly working' indicates a state not simply of complacency but of denial.
"The systems to deal with fraud are not working well. They are not working badly.
"The fact is that there are no systems to deal realistically with fraud and there never have been. Until there are, fraud will continue unabated."
The Electoral Reform Society, which has been monitoring postal voting on demand
since it was introduced five years ago, warned that electoral fraud was not confined to Birmingham.
A spokesman for the organisation said there had been recent cases in Blackburn, Guildford and Hackney involving people from different backgrounds and different parties.
A spokesman said: "We do not believe that electoral fraud is confined to Birmingham, to the Labour Party or, most importantly, to particular communities.
"We are not alarmist and do not believe that the outcome of, say, the General Election is likely to be seriously affected by fraud, but we are concerned that the cases which have come to the public's attention so far may be only part of a wider problem.
"We believe that urgent action must be taken."
Birmingham's Liberal Democrat leader, John Hemming, said: "The fact is that the problem with postal voting has been getting worse and worse over many years."
Mr Hemming said postal votes should be counted separately as an anti-fraud measure.
He added: "People do not want the democratic process to be dominated by gangsterism."
The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) was tonight considering the judge's comments about the integrity of the postal voting system, but it insisted that current arrangements worked well and electoral fraud was not widespread.
A spokesman said: "The Government condemns all instances of electoral fraud and attaches the highest importance to the upholding of standards in elections."
The spokesman said that to "ensure the continued standing and effectiveness of electoral systems in the UK we must all be vigilant".
He added: "To that end the Government will consider carefully the full judgment of the Electoral Commissioner once it is available, and consider any necessary action."
New steps are being taken to ensure that the voting system continues to be "robust, safe and secure", the DCA said.
The steps will include additional funding to improve ballot administration at the next General Election.
Officials will be writing today to all electoral returning officers to reinforce action against fraud.
A new Electoral Commission postal voting code has also been introduced offering candidates and activists advice about how to deal with postal votes, the DCA said.