Crackdown on election fraud in East Lancashire

Proxy vote counting in progress

Proxy vote counting in progress

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

EAST Lancashire election chiefs are taking tough action to combat vote fraud in next Thursday’s European and council elections.

Nationally police, ministers and the Electoral Commission have launched a drive to tackle misuse of postal and proxy votes in 16 ‘high risk’ areas.

They include Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn.

In 2012 Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson claimed postal vote fraud was ‘widespread’ in the South Asian community.

Borough returning officer Stephen Barnes has since drawn up guidelines for the parties which Labour has refused to officially sign.

In 2012, Lancashire Police investigated claims of malpractice in three wards in Hyndburn and two in Blackburn with Darwen. None resulted in prosecutions.

Blackburn with Darwen’s returning officer Harry Catherall expressed unhappiness that the borough remains on the Electoral Commission list of 16 high-risk areas after one successful prosecution for vote fraud over a decade ago. Hyndburn’s returning officer Jane Ellis said: “Voters can be reassured that we have clear systems in place to prevent election fraud.

“We carry out detailed checks in respect of proxy and postal voting and ensure our election and polling station staff are on the alert for possible irregularities.

“We also work closely with the police to reinforce the message that anyone involved in election fraud will face prosecution.”

Burnley’s returning officer Steve Rumbelow said: “Voters in our borough should be assured that we have robust systems in place to ensure elections are carried out in a professional manner. Burnley Council works with the police to prevent fraud and send out a clear message that if you are involved in election fraud you will be caught and prosecuted.”

Mr Catherall said: “We are once again disappointed a report using information which refers to an offence 12 years ago is being used to say we are a high risk area for electoral fraud.

“We work incredibly hard to mitigate any risk and remain constantly vigilant. Many of the processes suggested by the Electoral Commission as good practice are things we do already.

“We work with police, political parties and candidates to ensure the integrity of our elections are protected.”

Comments (17)

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3:12pm Fri 16 May 14

fedup with your lies says...

I guess Andrew Stephenson is a favourite with the asian community with views like that!!!!
I guess Andrew Stephenson is a favourite with the asian community with views like that!!!! fedup with your lies
  • Score: 6

4:02pm Fri 16 May 14

Izanears says...

In Pendle, Conservative, Liberal, BNP, and UKIP councillors all voted to stop abuses of the postal voting system. Labour did not. I think that says it all don't you?
In Pendle, Conservative, Liberal, BNP, and UKIP councillors all voted to stop abuses of the postal voting system. Labour did not. I think that says it all don't you? Izanears
  • Score: 29

4:17pm Fri 16 May 14

MHGBUK says...

Never used to be any cheating
Never used to be any cheating MHGBUK
  • Score: 8

5:19pm Fri 16 May 14

yyy's1 says...

MHGBUK
MHGBUK yyy's1
  • Score: -4

5:20pm Fri 16 May 14

yyy's1 says...

MHGBUK hear hear I wonder why it's changed?
MHGBUK hear hear I wonder why it's changed? yyy's1
  • Score: -3

5:58pm Fri 16 May 14

greenscreener says...

I think it's very suspicious that the proxy votes appear to turn up in bundles of 100 at a time ? Although it clearly makes them easier to count.
I think it's very suspicious that the proxy votes appear to turn up in bundles of 100 at a time ? Although it clearly makes them easier to count. greenscreener
  • Score: 13

7:22pm Fri 16 May 14

Copperhead says...

Asian proxy voters = electoral fraud.
Forced and arranged marriages + " dependant " relatives shipped into the UK to claim benefits = votes for the muslim candidates.
Labour won't criticise all of this because immigrants tend to vote for labour as a thank-you for letting them come here in the first place.
This is why ZaNuLabour encouraged mass immigration !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Asian proxy voters = electoral fraud. Forced and arranged marriages + " dependant " relatives shipped into the UK to claim benefits = votes for the muslim candidates. Labour won't criticise all of this because immigrants tend to vote for labour as a thank-you for letting them come here in the first place. This is why ZaNuLabour encouraged mass immigration !!!!!!!!!!!!! Copperhead
  • Score: 18

8:09pm Fri 16 May 14

zabby says...

All of you out there that vote labour don't complain it's what you voted for,mass immigration =mass election fraud that's how it's done in Pakistan and so on fraud and intimidation is the norm in such countries !sadly it's becoming the norm here! So all you left wing loonies out there this is what you get.. ??????
All of you out there that vote labour don't complain it's what you voted for,mass immigration =mass election fraud that's how it's done in Pakistan and so on fraud and intimidation is the norm in such countries !sadly it's becoming the norm here! So all you left wing loonies out there this is what you get.. ?????? zabby
  • Score: 13

9:48pm Fri 16 May 14

Reality50 says...

When the mean "high risk",they mean areas of high Muslim population.
When the mean "high risk",they mean areas of high Muslim population. Reality50
  • Score: 12

6:25am Sat 17 May 14

phil kernot says...

Now now calm down ,, voting is meant to be private so no one knows who's voted , so how come there is serial numbers on the ballot papers and that serial number is written against your address ,,, so we are being watched who we vote for next time you go ask ,, why there writing the number down against your address. ,,,, big brother is watching big time ....
Now now calm down ,, voting is meant to be private so no one knows who's voted , so how come there is serial numbers on the ballot papers and that serial number is written against your address ,,, so we are being watched who we vote for next time you go ask ,, why there writing the number down against your address. ,,,, big brother is watching big time .... phil kernot
  • Score: 4

10:11am Sat 17 May 14

Openminded? says...

phil kernot wrote:
Now now calm down ,, voting is meant to be private so no one knows who's voted , so how come there is serial numbers on the ballot papers and that serial number is written against your address ,,, so we are being watched who we vote for next time you go ask ,, why there writing the number down against your address. ,,,, big brother is watching big time ....
Whose writing your number down, its the politicians stood outside, you have every right to refuse??
[quote][p][bold]phil kernot[/bold] wrote: Now now calm down ,, voting is meant to be private so no one knows who's voted , so how come there is serial numbers on the ballot papers and that serial number is written against your address ,,, so we are being watched who we vote for next time you go ask ,, why there writing the number down against your address. ,,,, big brother is watching big time ....[/p][/quote]Whose writing your number down, its the politicians stood outside, you have every right to refuse?? Openminded?
  • Score: 4

1:50pm Sat 17 May 14

tonygreaves says...

No elector's number is written on the ballot paper. The ballot paper can only be matched against the voter if there is a court order to investigate in the event of alleged voting fraud.

The secrecy of the ballot is secure when the vote is cast in secret. The problem arises with postal votes which by their nature cannot be secure (the requirement to vote in secret cannot be enforced or guaranteed which means the system is open to organised fraud).

Tony Greaves
No elector's number is written on the ballot paper. The ballot paper can only be matched against the voter if there is a court order to investigate in the event of alleged voting fraud. The secrecy of the ballot is secure when the vote is cast in secret. The problem arises with postal votes which by their nature cannot be secure (the requirement to vote in secret cannot be enforced or guaranteed which means the system is open to organised fraud). Tony Greaves tonygreaves
  • Score: 6

2:30pm Sat 17 May 14

vicn1956 says...

When you go in your name is on a list with a number. You won't get a voting slip unless you give your name or take your form with you. Your voting slip has the same number on it. Is that a secret ballot? Oh they only look if there is an enquiry. THEY CAN STILL FIND OUT WHO VOTED FOR WHO. THAT IS NOT A SECRET BALLOT.
Have you voted before? Do you go through the process with your eyes shut?
When you go in your name is on a list with a number. You won't get a voting slip unless you give your name or take your form with you. Your voting slip has the same number on it. Is that a secret ballot? Oh they only look if there is an enquiry. THEY CAN STILL FIND OUT WHO VOTED FOR WHO. THAT IS NOT A SECRET BALLOT. Have you voted before? Do you go through the process with your eyes shut? vicn1956
  • Score: 5

2:32pm Sat 17 May 14

vicn1956 says...

Labour went ahead with mass postal voting despite being told it would be open to fraud.
Another in the long list of failures.
Labour went ahead with mass postal voting despite being told it would be open to fraud. Another in the long list of failures. vicn1956
  • Score: 9

8:54pm Sat 17 May 14

Excluded again says...

I don't want to minimise the importance of electoral fraud. it needs to be vigorously pursued and any guilty parties should spend a long time in jail.

But actual cases are thankfully very rare in this country. Allegations are easy to make, but the evidence is rarely forthcoming.

What is interesting is the dog which does not bark. Even when Councillors defect from one party to another, they don't have any evidence to really hammer the party they are leaving in disgust. And yet if the practice was widespread, they would surely be able to give names, dates and places.

So in Pendle last September, a Labour Councillor defected to the Tories. If he had seen widespread fraud by Labour why did he not give the evidence to his new party? What possible motive could he have for not doing this?
I don't want to minimise the importance of electoral fraud. it needs to be vigorously pursued and any guilty parties should spend a long time in jail. But actual cases are thankfully very rare in this country. Allegations are easy to make, but the evidence is rarely forthcoming. What is interesting is the dog which does not bark. Even when Councillors defect from one party to another, they don't have any evidence to really hammer the party they are leaving in disgust. And yet if the practice was widespread, they would surely be able to give names, dates and places. So in Pendle last September, a Labour Councillor defected to the Tories. If he had seen widespread fraud by Labour why did he not give the evidence to his new party? What possible motive could he have for not doing this? Excluded again
  • Score: 7

9:21pm Sat 17 May 14

Copperhead says...

It doesn't matter who wins the election - the government is always in power.
It doesn't matter who wins the election - the government is always in power. Copperhead
  • Score: -2

9:41pm Sat 17 May 14

Excluded again says...

phil kernot wrote:
Now now calm down ,, voting is meant to be private so no one knows who's voted , so how come there is serial numbers on the ballot papers and that serial number is written against your address ,,, so we are being watched who we vote for next time you go ask ,, why there writing the number down against your address. ,,,, big brother is watching big time ....
Its really simple once you understand how many parties campaign. No big brother, just a playing of percentages by the political parties.

When they knock at your door, the parties make a note of how you say you will vote. If you say that you will vote for them then they really want to make sure that you actually vote on polling day.

So on polling day, they ask for people's electoral number when they are going in to vote. They then check if you are on their list of supporters. If you are, they know you have voted so they don't need to bother you. Later in the day, they have a look at which of their supporters have voted and which have not - and try to remind those who have not yet voted to get along and vote.

Of course, the parties have no way of knowing which way you actually voted. You might have lied to them to get them to go away or you might have changed your mind. But they are playing the percentages - it is more likely that someone who has said that they will vote for their party will actually vote for their party.
[quote][p][bold]phil kernot[/bold] wrote: Now now calm down ,, voting is meant to be private so no one knows who's voted , so how come there is serial numbers on the ballot papers and that serial number is written against your address ,,, so we are being watched who we vote for next time you go ask ,, why there writing the number down against your address. ,,,, big brother is watching big time ....[/p][/quote]Its really simple once you understand how many parties campaign. No big brother, just a playing of percentages by the political parties. When they knock at your door, the parties make a note of how you say you will vote. If you say that you will vote for them then they really want to make sure that you actually vote on polling day. So on polling day, they ask for people's electoral number when they are going in to vote. They then check if you are on their list of supporters. If you are, they know you have voted so they don't need to bother you. Later in the day, they have a look at which of their supporters have voted and which have not - and try to remind those who have not yet voted to get along and vote. Of course, the parties have no way of knowing which way you actually voted. You might have lied to them to get them to go away or you might have changed your mind. But they are playing the percentages - it is more likely that someone who has said that they will vote for their party will actually vote for their party. Excluded again
  • Score: 2

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