Campaign to raise awareness of fraud among voters in the West Midlands launched.
Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission are urging voters not to stand for electoral fraud in the lead up to the elections on Thursday 5th May.
The campaign aims to educate the public about the signs of fraud, and to encourage them to report anything that may be an offence.
Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission have provided Returning Officers across the West Midlands with posters for polling stations across the region. Posts detailing the different types of fraud and how to report it are also being promoted on Facebook and Twitter.
The campaign comes as a recent report from the Electoral Commission revealed there were 481 cases of alleged electoral fraud recorded by the police in the UK last year. Mark Hallas, CEO of Crimestoppers, said: “Although the number of electoral fraud cases reported last year is relatively low, we can’t be complacent and we believe it is important to continue to raise awareness of the issue.
“Voters across the UK will be heading to the polling stations on Thursday 5 May; they have a right to vote for whoever they want and be confident that their vote counts.
“Electoral fraud is a crime and it is our duty to help bring to justice those who are responsible for it but also to help to educate the public, so that voters can recognise electoral fraud and report it if they know it’s happening.”
Electoral fraud offences include:
· Pretending to be someone else to use their vote (personation)
· False application to register to vote
· False application for proxy or postal vote
· Tampering with ballot papers or postal ballot packs.
· Influencing voters through intimidation or threats
· Influencing voters through bribery or ‘treating’ with gifts
· Failing to mark election material with the details of the printer and party candidate responsible
· Making false statements about candidates
· Allegations against Returning Officers and staff.
The Electoral Commission and Crimestoppers have been working together since May 2015; when they first joined together to raise awareness of electoral fraud leading up to the general election.
Tom Hawthorn, Head of Policy for the Electoral Commission, said: “It’s important that voters have confidence in the voting process. Proven cases of electoral fraud remain relatively rare across the UK, but we shouldn’t underestimate the impact that fraud can have. We know from our work that it is campaigners, candidates and their supporters who commit electoral fraud and voters who are the victims.
“We’re really pleased to be working alongside charity Crimestoppers again to help to raise awareness of what electoral fraud is and how it can be reported. Voters can help us to tackle electoral fraud by reporting it if they see it – either to the police, or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Electoral fraud can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers through the charity’s 0800 555 111 number or Anonymous Online Form at Crimestoppers-uk.org Members of the public can also report to their local police force by calling 101 or they can speak to their local council’s Returning Officer.