Lib Dem arrested in ballot theft inquiry

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Indy Politics

A candidate in next week's local elections was arrested over alleged election irregularities yesterday. Aftab Hussain, a 39-year-old Liberal Democrat standing in Alexandra in Oldham, Greater Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and theft of ballot papers.

A candidate in next week's local elections was arrested over alleged election irregularities yesterday. Aftab Hussain, a 39-year-old Liberal Democrat standing in Alexandra in Oldham, Greater Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and theft of ballot papers.

Police said: "At around 8pm on Friday, 28 May, two men called at a house on Queens Road in Glodwick and offered to look after the ballot papers for everyone at the address. The family handed over five ballot papers before the two men left. The following day the family contacted the police to raise concerns about the two men."

Mr Hussain was bailed to return to Oldham police station on 5 August.

Ministers said an extra million people could be encouraged to vote as a direct result of the controversial postal ballot trials, despite claims that tens of thousands of blind and elderly people may be disenfranchised.

Christopher Leslie, a Constitutional Affairs minister, said turnout in the four regions taking partcould jump by 10 per cent if it follows the example of other pilot all-postal ballots - the equivalent of a million extra votes across the East Midlands, the North-east, the North-west, and Yorkshire and Humberside. He said: "If you have people elected on a tiny turnout, they don't have the mandate."

However, the charity Help the Aged said the small print and confusion could prompt many elderly people to throw away the papers, while the Royal National Institute for the Blind claimed that tens of thousands would be disenfranchised because they could not read the packs.

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