Watch out for electoral fraud
Independent charity Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission are urging the public to protect their right to vote by reporting any cases of electoral fraud.
The campaign asks people to tell Crimestoppers if they suspect or have information on someone breaking electoral law. This includes cases of:
- Personation (people pretending to be someone else in order to vote / at the polling station)
- Bribery (offer of money or other inducements to vote in a particular way)
- Intimidation (influencing a voter through the use of threats)
- More than one person using a polling booth at the same time
During 2017, police forces across the UK investigated 336 electoral fraud allegations. Of these, 104 alleged cases related to voting offences and 36 to registration offences.
Of these, there was one prosecution and conviction for personation. Two suspects accepted police cautions regarding personation when voting by post, and four suspects accepted cautions for registration offences.
The ‘Your vote is yours alone’ campaign materials depict different types of electoral fraud offences taking place in a polling station or in someone’s home as they complete their postal vote. They are designed to empower voters to protect their vote and report any concerns about possible fraud to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or via our anonymous online form which can be found at crimestoppers-uk.org.
In addition, local authorities have been provided with resources – including videos, posters and a leaflet – which they can use in their local areas.
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of the charity Crimestoppers, said: “Whilst electoral fraud is quite rare, it’s important for us all to be aware, lookout for it and work together to stop people from jeopardising our tradition of fair and free elections.
“Last year, as a charity, over 400,000 people trusted us to pass on their information about all sorts of crimes – safe in the knowledge that they remain 100% anonymous. Always.
”With elections on the horizon, we are asking people who – for whatever reason may not wish to speak to the police – to contact us on 0800 555 111 or via our anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org. Once you hang up the phone, or click send, you’re done.”
Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission have been working together since the 2015 general election when they first joined forces to raise public awareness and encourage people to speak up about their electoral fraud suspicions or concerns.
Craig Westwood, Director of Communications and Research at the Electoral Commission, said: “Electoral fraud is a serious crime, and the cautions and convictions handed down in the last year show that the police take reports seriously. No one should feel pressured to vote a certain way whether at the poll station on 3 May or by post. Our campaign seeks to empower voters to protect their vote; anyone who suspects fraud should contact Crimestoppers as soon as possible.”
Electoral fraud can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers through the charity’s 0800 555 111 number or its anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org
Members of the public can also report to their local police by calling 101 or they can speak to their local council’s Returning Officer.