A new campaign aiming to stamp out electoral fraud has launched ahead of May’s local elections.
The ‘Your vote is yours alone’ campaign comes from the Electoral Commission and is backed by independent crime reporting charity Crimestoppers.
There are different types of electoral fraud offences which take place in polling stations, or even during postal voting.
“Whether you are voting in person at a polling station on 03 May or completing your postal vote at home, it’s important your vote is yours alone,” Claire Bassett, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said.
“No one should feel pressured to vote a certain way. While proven cases of electoral fraud are rare, it remains a serious crime and those who commit it can be sentenced to time in prison.”
There were 336 cases of electoral fraud investigated by UK police in 2017. One case of personation – pretending to be a different voter in an election – led to a conviction. A further two people accepted police cautions for personation connected to postal voting and four more accepted cautions related to registration offences.
The Electoral Commission finds that electoral fraud is not always correctly understood. Language barriers and a lack of knowledge about the UK’s electoral system means fraud ‘disproportionately’ affects specific groups, including women from different communities. To help women at risk from electoral fraud understand that their vote is theirs alone, posters and leaflets translated in Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali.
Electoral fraud includes intimidation or ‘undue influence’, bribery, violent threats and personation both at a polling station and by post.
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