Voters are being warned to be aware of the threat of electoral fraud in the run up to next week’s General Election.
The concerns - by independent charity Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission - include intimidating or bribing voters, stealing postal or proxy votes, voting as someone else, tampering with ballot papers or postal ballot packs, or asking someone to reveal their marked ballot paper.
Last year, police across the UK recorded a total of 260 alleged electoral fraud allegations, resulting in two convictions and cautions.
Crimestoppers CEO, Mark Hallas, said: “Electoral fraud damages the UK’s tradition of free and fair elections, which is respected across the world. Incidents of people trying to unduly or illegally influence or rig the outcome of a ballot undermines the public’s trust and is a crime.”
Tom Hawthorn, head of policy for the Electoral Commission, said: “It is important that when voters go to the polls on 8 June, they are confident the police and prosecuting authorities take allegations of electoral fraud seriously. Significant sentences will be imposed when electoral law is broken, and those responsible for electoral fraud can face jail.”
Electoral fraud includes:
* Influencing voters through intimidation, threats, bribery or ‘treating’ with gifts
* Pretending to be someone else to use their vote.
* False application to register to vote
* False application for proxy or postal vote
Electoral fraud can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers through the charity’s 0800 555 111 number or anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org
People can also report allegations their local police by calling 101 or they can speak to their local council’s returning officer.