Electoral integrity and absent voting – Westminster Hall Debate

Stewart Jackson MP has secured a debate on Westminster Hall on electoral integrity and absent voting. It will be held at 4.30pm on Wednesday 9 November 2015.

Background

On 14 August 2015 the Cabinet Office announced that Sir Eric Pickles, the Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion, was to review electoral fraud and make recommendations on what could be done to tackle the problem.

There has been increasing concern about electoral offences in recent years and in 2012 the Electoral Commission began a review to determine whether there were opportunities to improve confidence in the security of the electoral process. On 8 January 2014 the Commission published its final report and recommendations on electoral fraud in the UK. The Commission called for sustained action to address the risk of electoral fraud, especially in higher risk areas, and has called for the introduction of a system under which voters should be required to show proof of identity at the polling station before they can be issued with a ballot paper.

Electoral offences

The Commons Library briefing on Electoral offences since 2010 gives details of the reports published by the Electoral Commission and the Associations of Chief Police Officers on cases of alleged malpractice. It also gives a chronology of allegations of electoral malpractice from 2010 and describes the different election offences.

Postal voting

Postal voting has been associated with the potential for electoral fraud. The Commons Library briefing on postal voting looks at the steps taken to address this risk.

Parliamentary questions

Absent Voting
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the efficacy of removing the current policy of absent votes on demand in favour of the previous absent votes criteria for the purpose of preventing electoral fraud; and if he will make a statement.

06 Nov 2015 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 14593
Asked by: Jackson, Mr Stewart | Answered by: Mr Gary Streeter | Department: Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission
 
Absent Voting
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Commission will extend eligibility for emergency proxy votes to healthy people who are unable to vote because they need to be with a family member who is undergoing medical treatment.
 
06 Jul 2015 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 4886
Asked by: Siddiq, Tulip | Answered by: Mr Gary Streeter | Department: Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission
 
Elections: Fraud
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many successful prosecutions for (a) postal, not proxy, vote fraud and (b) electoral registration fraud there have been in each of the last 15 years.
10 Jul 2014 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 203974 | 584 cc398-9W
Asked by: Chris Ruane | Answered by: Mr Streeter | Department: Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission

Parliamentary Debate

Opposition Day Debate on Electoral registration
HC Deb 4 Feb 2015 cc344-84

Press articles

Michael Wilkinson and James Rothwell, Oldham by-election: Police could be called in to investigate alleged voting fraud amid UKIP complaints about Labour victory, Telegraph 4 December 2015

Nigel Morris, Eric Pickles to lead electoral fraud investigation into ‘rotton boroughs’ after Tower Hamlets scandal, Independent 12 August 2015

Five sentenced for Maybury and Sheerwater ballot fraud, BBC News 9 June 2015 

Editorial, Electoral fraud: The risks of the remedy, Guardian January 8 2014

Further reading

Electoral fraud in the UK: final report and reccomendations, The Electoral Commission, January 2014

The 2015 General Election: aspects of participation and administration, Colin Rawlings and Michael Thrasher, August 2015 – Table 14: proxy voting 2015, p13

The 2010 General Election: aspects of participation and administration, Colin Rawlings and Michael Thrasher, August 2010 – Table 12: proxy voting 2010, p12


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