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New measures to tackle electoral fraud

New action is being taken to tackle electoral fraud as the Electoral Commission braces itself for May’s local elections and the EU referendum.

The measures come as the Commission released new figures showing that there were 481 cases of alleged electoral fraud in the UK in 2015, leading to four court proceedings, three of which involved candidates submitting fraudulently completed nomination forms. The results of a government review into electoral fraud are due this year.

The commission is working with police forces and Crimestoppers to tackle electoral fraud. It held a seminar for specialist officers from every police force in February and provided an updated version of professional practice guidance on policing elections.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, said: “It’s important that voters have confidence in the voting process. Proven cases of electoral fraud remain relatively rare across the UK, but no one can afford to be complacent about the impact that fraud can have. We know from our work that it is campaigners, candidates and their supporters who commit electoral fraud and voters who are the victims.

“We will once again be working with everyone involved with elections to ensure that risks are monitored and tackled through sustained and coordinated action across the country. Voters can help us by reporting electoral fraud if they see it – to the police, or to Crimestoppers.”

With devolved and local elections taking place across the UK on 5 May, swiftly followed by the EU referendum on 23 June, hopefully these new measures will help reduce the small but real risk of fraud and ensure a democratic process.


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