Police investigate postal vote fraud claims

By politics.co.uk staff

Police are looking into up to 50 allegations about postal vote fraud.

In London alone, the Metropolitan police confirmed 28 allegations had been received, five of which are being investigated.

With the election set to be closest political contest on Britain for a generation, authorities are particularly concerned about any irregularities, given the margin of victory could be very slim.

Four cases in Tower Hamlets and one in Ealing are being investigated while a host of other London boroughs are under scrutiny..

Other complaints relate to: Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Barking and Dagenham, Westminster, Enfield, Hounslow, Haringey, Ealing, Brent, Bexleyheath, Camden and Redbridge.

“All complaints and allegations received will be assessed, and where appropriate, will be thoroughly investigated in close liaison with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] and other relevant agencies,” a Met spokesperson said.

The Daily Mail said officers in Yorkshire and Derby had also had concerns raised with them.

Peter Wardle, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, said: “Extra security checks were introduced in 2006, so this is the first time they’ve been in place for a general election.

“Recent reports show these checks in action, with registration officers and the police aiming to catch potentially fraudulent applications before polling day. The number of reports of allegations should also be seen in the context of the total number of votes – at the 2005 general election over twenty-seven million votes were cast.”

The deadline for postal votes of April 20th saw a surge in applications.

Parliamentary observers are hoping the surge reflects increased voter interest given the tightness of the race.

But concerns remain that fake names could have been added to the database in an attempt to skew local results.