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Elections: Fraud

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 12 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many successful prosecutions there were for offences of electoral fraud arising from elections held in 2008. (274248)

The report recently published by the Electoral Commission and the Association of Chief Police Officers entitled “Allegations of electoral malpractice at the May 2008 elections in England and Wales” found that the police had recorded 103 cases of electoral malpractice at those elections. Eighty-one per cent. of the cases required no further action by the police. One case has led to a prosecution, which resulted in a conviction of one person on a charge of making a false application to vote by proxy. Nine cases resulted in formal cautions which may lead to criminal records, with 12 cases under investigation or awaiting advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

These figures must be seen in the context of over 16 million votes cast at the local elections in England and Wales in May 2008 in nearly 4,000 separate elections involving over 13,500 candidates.

The report is consistent with earlier findings that the scale and volume of allegations of fraud at recent elections have been decreasing.