Vote fraud fears raised as General Election nears

Sajjad Karim MEP

Sajjad Karim MEP

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This week thousands of postal votes have been dropping through electors’ letterboxes for both the General Election and local government elections.

Conservative Euro MP and former Pendle councillor Sajjad Karim has expressed concerns about vote fraud across the county, calling on police to act to protect electors to ensure they are able to complete their own vote according to their own wish.

In recent elections there have been an increase in the number of police investigations into allegations political activists are pressuring families into voting for their candidate, or taking ballot papers away to fill them in, which is illegal,

Mr Karim said: “Despite concerns from the Electoral Commission and the police, Labour liberalised the post vote system in 2001, meaning anyone on the electoral register could have a postal vote.

“Since then the number of people using absent votes has shot up over 200% in some constituencies. The numbers have gone up dramatically in every constituency but particularly in seats with substantial Asian electorates.

“But the current system has not boosted turnout or simplified the process, particularly for vulnerable people. It gives on opportunity for certain political activists to commit fraud on these communities.

“The way things stand, in constituencies with a high percentage of postal votes, there is the potential for fraud and intimidation tactics to rig the result as applications can be made without the knowledge of the elector and for postal ballot papers to be interfered with before their return.”

The MEP has written to Lancashire’s Chief Constable seeking an assurance the electorate in these areas are provided with extra policing and feel free from intimidation and interference in the exercise of their ballot.