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Electoral Commission sets out proposals to cut fraud

Postal voting should be restricted to minimise the opportunity for electoral fraud, the Electoral Commission has suggested. A new consultation has been published seeking views on possible changes to arrangements for voting in person at polling stations, by proxy or by post.

The first phase of the Electoral Commission’s review into electoral fraud indicates that the crime is not widespread in the UK. The majority of cases take place in local government elections and tend to be committed by candidates or their supporters rather than voters.

The review also showed around a third of respondents are concerned about electoral fraud. The consultation options include restricting availability of postal voting and providing alternatives, as well as requiring all voters at polling stations to provide proof of identity.

The commission also calls for electoral registration officers (EROs) to begin planning now to prevent and detect electoral fraud ahead of the 2014 and 2015 elections.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, said: “Although the law has been changed over the years to strengthen the system –  introducing checks on postal votes and making registering to vote more secure starting next summer – our research shows voters are still concerned about electoral fraud.

“As we make the electoral registration system more secure, it’s time to look at whether other trust-based elements of our system are sustainable. There are trade-offs between making the system accessible and making it secure. We need to make sure we have the right balance so that voters and political parties can participate in elections, but risks from unscrupulous campaigners are reduced.

“These are not easy issues to resolve, and we are not ruling out considering any potential solution at this stage.  This is why it is important that we hear in detail from people about what they think of the different options.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

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