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Elections: Fraud

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated research on the effectiveness in preventing electoral fraud of requiring electors in polling stations to sign for their ballot paper. (181003)

Seven local authorities undertook electoral pilot schemes that required electors to provide their signature before being issued with their ballot papers in polling stations at the May 2006 local elections. Four local authorities did so at the May 2007 local elections.

The Government have not commissioned research on this issue. However, in its statutory evaluation of the pilot schemes the Electoral Commission noted that public opinion research carried out in the pilot scheme areas suggested that requiring voters to provide a signature may provide a deterrent effect in relation to personation.

The Government continues to believe that requiring electors to sign for their ballot paper will help to deter opportunists from defrauding the system and improve levels of public confidence.