Voting fraud targetted

Postal vote
Postal vote Photo: Press Association

Plans to restrict postal voting and introduce ballot box identity checks in local authorities including Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees,are being floated by an elections watchdog to help crack down on polling fraud.

The British voting system is vulnerable to abuse even when all current measures are being taken to prevent and detect it, according to the Electoral Commission.

It found there is a "consistent underlying level of concern among voters" about electoral fraud but reports of wrong-doing are mainly concentrated in a small number of English local authority areas.

The commission is looking at a number of options to crack down on abuse of the system in Britain including adopting measures currently used in Northern Ireland, such as restricting postal voting to constituents that are physically unable to vote in person and forcing voters to prove their identity at polling stations.

Advance voting, curbs on campaigning activities at polling stations and restrictions on the handling of postal vote applications are also among options put forward in its consultation on reforms.

The commission has also called for police, electoral registration officers and returning officers to toughen up procedures ahead of elections next year .

It will monitor 15 areas - Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Burnley, Calderdale, Coventry, Hyndburn, Kirklees, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Slough, Tower Hamlets, Walsall, and Woking - where there has been a history of cases of alleged fraud.