Watchdog warns of postal voting fraud

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Indy Politics

The official elections watchdog yesterday warned about the dangers of postal voting fraud in the forthcoming European and local elections.

The Electoral Commission published a draft code of conduct for political parties, candidates and canvassers setting out guidance on how to avoid any taint of impropriety. The draft code includes advice to candidates and canvassers not to handle postal ballot papers or volunteer to return completed ballot papers on behalf of voters.

More than 12 million people in the East Midlands, the North- east, the North-west and Yorkshire were to receive postal votes for the elections to the European Parliament on 10 June. Many more people around the country will be voting by post for the local council elections on the same day.

The Electoral Commission said that it was issuing the draft code of conduct now "to help retain the real and perceived integrity of the postal voting process".

Kate Sullivan, the deputy policy director of the commission, said: "Candidates, agents and local party workers can play a crucial role in improving turnout at elections by encouraging postal voting. The code aims to ensure that this is done in a way that supports the integrity of the democratic process."

A former Conservative councillor was sentenced this month to four months' imprisonment for vote-rigging in an all-postal voting election pilot in Guildford, Surrey.