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Tackle every aspect of electoral fraud

Last updated: 12:10pm 29 October 2019

…and tackle every aspect of electoral fraud.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.43

Our verdict

The Electoral Commission, which regulates election finance and sets standards for electoral processes, says, “Electoral fraud happens when someone has deliberately tried to cheat at an election”. That could involve:

  • pretending to be someone else
  • lying about a candidate
  • making someone vote against their will

The Commission analysed cases of alleged electoral fraud in 2017 and found only one conviction, despite almost 45 million votes being cast. Nonetheless, this policy promises to “tackle every aspect of electoral fraud”.

In response to a review of electoral fraud in 2016, the previous government proposed three focus points:

  • preventing intimidation and undue influence of voters
  • ending postal vote harvesting
  • piloting the use of ID in polling stations

Following a 2018 consultation, in May 2019 the government set out a package of measures to tackle intimidation and abusive online communications around elections.

Voter ID pilots were run by five local authorities in the May 2018 local government elections. Additional trials were introduced in the May 2019 local elections.

In October 2019, the Queen’s Speech included this statement:

“My Government will take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the United Kingdom.”

The briefing notes show that introducing voter ID and improving security around postal votes are significant features of the proposed electoral reform legislation.

It is likely that preparatory work on a bill is only just starting, now that it has a legislative slot. However, consultations and pilots of voter ID have taken place and the legislative process around electoral reform has begun. This one is ‘in progress’. We’ll keep tracking to see if a new law does indeed “tackle every aspect of electoral fraud”. Follow this policy to stay up to date.

Cover “every aspect” – get the details!

There's always room for debate

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